North Macedonia


MK

Republic of North Macedonia


Information on Contact Persons can be found at the Republic of North Macedonia page of the Cooperation with third countries and judicial networks section.

 

      Organisation of the judicial system

The Constitution, as the supreme law of the state, that establishes the general principles of the judicial system and the rule of law. It determines that the judicial is a separate power exercised by the courts. The organizational structure and competencies of the courts  and prosecution are regulated by the Law on Courts, the Law on Public prosecution.

Courts

Organisation

According to the Law on Courts the judicial power is exercised by the Basic Courts, the Appellate Courts, the Administrative Court, the High Administrative Court, and the Supreme Court.

Overall, there are 27 Basic Courts established, which have specialised departments in criminal, civil, and administrative matters. Out of these 27 Basic Courts, 11 Basic Courts have extended jurisdiction, which in addition to the basic instance responsibilities they are responsible to deal with international legal requests and can inter alia decide on: extraditions; proceedings related to international legal assistance specified by law. Within their extended jurisdiction these courts are also responsible for cases punishable with at least 4 years of imprisonment.

The president as the manager of the court organises its proper functioning. S/he prepares by the end of each year for the upcoming one a yearly work schedule for the court including the appointment of the heads of the departments, their deputies, the assigned judges to each of the departments, etc. Attention should be paid to designate judges to particular working areas with the aim to avoid overlaps with different legal fields.

According to the Courts Rulebook, a specialised department on organized crime and corruption has been established at the Basic Court Skopje 1, as it is the largest Court in the country.

Even though, it is not specifically mentioned, in general a specialized department on MLA could be instituted within the Basic Courts with extended jurisdiction, since these Courts should deal with international cooperation and MLA. However, such a specialized department (on MLA) can only be established in a court, if at least 5 judges work on this particular type of cases. Consequently, only in the biggest criminal court in The Republic of North Macedonia the Basic Court Skopje 1 (also a court with an extended jurisdiction) a department for international legal assistance exists.

However,the practice varies in different courts, in osme courts every judge deals with MLA cases, in some courts exclusively the president deal with such cases, in some courts the president refers the case to a particular judge, and in some courts the president refers the case to the judge of preliminary procedure or judge for enforcement of sentence.

With the introduction of the accusatorial system in the 2010 Law on criminal procedure (further in the  text - LCP) the responsibilities for investigative actions were transferred to the public prosecutor, this includes all investigative actions which are part of the MLA requests. In investigations the authorization by the judge of preliminary procedure foreseen by the LCP is limited to coercive measures related to personal liberties and privacy. The preliminary procedure judge is the guardian of freedom related to the legal performance of the public prosecutor. Her/his main responsibilities are enscoped with the following: deprivation of liberty issues, searches, temporary seizures and freezing, special investigative measures (linked to interception of telecommunications, monitoring / surveillance, access to computer data etc.), plea agreements and most important the processing of cases of international cooperation in criminal matters according to the Law on international cooperation in criminal matter.

Responsibilities / tasks in international legal cooperation

International legal cooperation in criminal matters involving a judge includes the so called “small” legal assistance (i.e. the transfer of documents, hearing of accused, witness or damaged parties, etc.), extradition, transfer of convicts, and enforcement of foreign judgements in the scope of the imposed sanction.

The courts accept cases or requests for international legal assistance of foreign courts only if they are submitted through official channels. They themselves use exclusively the MoJ as communication link with foreign countries and do not practice direct contacts with colleagues abroad.

The courts are taking into consideration only those documents which are according to art. 80 MLA law written in the official Macedonian language in Cyrillic.

Also, legal assistance is provided only in the manner stipulated by national legislation. However, the actions a foreign court requests to perform, may also be executed in the manner requested by the foreign court, if such procedure does not conflict the national law.

As mentioned above, different courts have different set ups within their organisation regarding the management of MLA cases. However, all interviewed presidents of these courts coincided that MoJ proves to be a slow and inefficient tool for handling MLA cases which on occasions need acceleration, despite the fact that MoJ is their preferred communication link.

Practice, cooperation with other law enforcement agencies

The main cooperation of the judges in the field of MLA is with the MoJ and the prosecution offices.

Prosecution offices

The new Law on criminal procedure (LCP) (effective as of the end of 2013) changed the criminal/penal system. The reform altered the modus operandi and the nature of the work of the prosecutors and changed the interaction between the law enforcement institutions involved in the criminal procedure. The main amendment of the law is the shift from the investigative judge to the public prosecutor regarding the responsibility as to the investigating procedure. Now the public prosecutor will solely lead the criminal investigation. S/he will be assisted by the judicial police composed out of experts/investigators from the Ministry of internal affairs, i.e. the Police, the Financial Police and the Customs Administration. The law also foresees the establishment of Investigative centers in one or more public prosecutors offices.

Organisation

The main legal framework of the Public prosecution is the Law on public prosecution and the Law on public prosecutor`s council. The Public prosecution office (further in the text: State PPO) in Skopje is on top of the hierarchy. This office led by the State public prosecutor acts at the level of the Supreme Court, brings a case to the constitutional court concerning its constitutionality and legality, plays a part in international cooperation and carries out managerial functions.

In addition to the State public prosecutor, eight deputy prosecutors work in the office. The State PPO is composed of three departments: the criminal department, the civil department and the department for international cooperation. In this office an IT-case- management and case-tracking-system has been recently installed. According to information, from the State PPO the installation of the aforementioned.

High Public Prosecutions (further in the text: Higher PPO) are attached to the corresponding appellate courts. Accordingly, there are 4 Higher PPOs in Skopje, Gostivar, Bitola and Stip. In general the Higher PPO acts before the Appellate Court and is part of the international cooperation in the second instance of proceedings.

Basic Public Prosecution office for organised crime and corruption (further in the text PPO on organised crime) based in Skopje is responsible for cases involving serious and organized crime and corruption and has jurisdiction over the whole country.

It has two main departments: one for trafficking in drugs, weapons, human beings and migrants, and the other one for economic and financial crimes. Each one is led by a public prosecutor from the office.

The PPO on organized crime brings an action to the Department on organised crime and corruption in the Basic Court Skopje 1.

 The PPO on organised crime receives cases with a component of MLA/international cooperation either from the MoI, the MoJ, from other PPOs or directly from foreign counterparts. Each case with an international component is registered in two manners: The cases for international cooperation in general, for which according to Art. 5 MLA Law, “a request for international assistance” is needed (transfer of proceedings and judgement, and extraditions) have a file reference AM; the MLA cases, which according to Art. 5 MLA Law require a “letter rogatory” a reference KO MP. However, this is according to the Rulebook of the PPO. In practice, the prosecution offices register the MLA cases as part of their usually used registries. When the case is received at the archive of the office, it is registered in two manners: in the so called RO registers (a variety of cases are registered there, sometimes there is not yet a formal criminal report or the case is at an early stage of development) or in the KO registry (then a criminal report is submitted and the case is already at an advanced (pre)investigation phase). The MLA cases are usually registered in the RO registry; later on when or if they develop they are included in the KO registry. It has been mentioned that soon a separate registry for MLA cases will be introduced.

Referral. Within the PPO on organized crime no special prosecutor has been appointed or designated with tasks or duties in regard to international legal cooperation and MLA. These respective cases are always referred to the prosecutor on duty. Consequently all of these cases can be examined by the majority of the public prosecutors from this office being more or less specialized in MLA/ international legal cooperation. Also letters rogatory are handled this way, both incoming and outgoing. In special situations the Head of the PPO on organized crime (The Basic Public prosecutor) assigns by discretionary authority a case because of its complexity, urgency and the skills required for the case to a particular prosecutor.

Whenever a PPO, namely one with extended jurisdiction, receives a case – from MoJ or other sources - and considers that the case is not within its jurisdiction it transfers the case directly to the appropriate PPO  

If the receiving PPO is of the opinion that it also does not have jurisdiction, then it sends the case to the State PPO who deals with the conflict of jurisdictions, and decides finally.

Regardless, if MoJ or another body sends a case to a PPO with inadequate jurisdiction, it takes time until the case reaches the appropriate office. A centralized and coordinating office, managing all MLA and international cooperation cases, would speed up the process and avoid time lags. The State PPO has the legal possibility to set up such specialized department.

The PPO on organized crime is so far the only office which has established an investigative center as required by the LCP. However, at the moment only one customs inspector and three assistants with a legal background are supporting this center. The approximate number of staff including the administrative and technical staff makes the office of about 42 employees.

The PPO on organized crime is provided with the necessary IT equipment, but has still not installed the case management and case tracking system. Currently everything is done manually and electronically by an electronic registry and electronically recorded referral which is of modest capacity. This electronic data base is a rather static data base and does not provide a working station for each public prosecutor to work on the files. Three rooms in the office are equipped with an audio-video recording system for interrogations, one room with a video-conferencing system. All prosecutors have official mobile phones.

The Basic public prosecution offices (further in the text: Basic PPO) are acting in front of the corresponding Basic Courts in first instance proceedings. 22 offices exist throughout the country.

Basic public prosecution offices with extended jurisdiction

12 of the Basic PPOs bring action in front of courts with extended jurisdiction. These PPOs mirror the establishment of the courts with extended jurisdiction and are situated in Bitola, Gostivar, Kocani, Kumanovo, Ohrid, Prilep, Skopje, Stip, Strumica, Tetovo, Gostivar, and Veles. The jurisdiction of these offices is basic, but extended to act also on cases punishable with up to 5 years of imprisonment, deal with international legal cooperation and assistance, implement extraditions and other authorizations as well.

From the visits of all these offices it was noted that: no structure of handling MLA cases is existent; the number of MLA cases they are dealing with is rather low; and the majority of cases are related to the so called minor MLA and extraditions. Sometimes these offices have to handle cases they do not have jurisdiction of, because the case was not sent to the appropriate office from the very beginning. However, their activities in this field are of moderate character. Their HR and IT equipment were of extremely modest character.

Jurisdiction/tasks in international legal cooperation

A precondition for international cooperation in criminal matters is the harmonization of the criminal legislation of Republic of North Macedonia with the one existent in the EU. No total adaption of the legislation is required, yet the domestic legal framework should provide possibilities and mechanisms to facilitate and foster international judicial cooperation. In this context, The Republic of North Macedonia has signed the majority of relevant UN and CoE instruments which are applicable for the status of the country. In addition, also a range of Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements for Cooperation are existent, which add the purpose of facilitating and specifying international legal cooperation. Also, the level of regional and bilateral agreements is far-reaching.

Despite these legal instruments, the PPO has singed specific Memoranda of understanding or cooperation with other prosecution offices in order to allow for easier and more specific related international cooperation in criminal matters.

The PPO is rather active in international, regional and bilateral cooperation. As of 2003 The Republic of North Macedonia is member of SEEPAG established to facilitate judicial cooperation in significant trans-border crime investigations and cases. In addition, since 2006 Republic of North Macedonia is a member of the Western Balkans prosecutorial network. From the countries of the (so called) Western Balkans, The Republic of North Macedonia is the only country that has signed in 2010 an operational and strategic agreement with Eurojust. Thus, a representative from Republic of North Macedonia is not present within Eurojust – only a national contact point exists and a The Republic of North Macedonia desk is not yet established to deepen the cooperation with Eurojust.

Especially the PPO on organized crime has an intensive and dynamic cooperation with foreign police liaison officers based in the country or abroad which stimulates and facilitates even more the international cooperation.

The department responsible for international cooperation within the PPO, which should be the coordinating body for international cooperation and which should also have an advisory role for the national prosecution service, is still not functioning and managed as such despite the fact of the existent legal basis. Though, according to the Rulebook it has been envisaged that a public prosecutor shall be managing such department. The PPOs with extended jurisdiction are also part of this scheme. The law gives them the legal basis to play an active role in international cooperation and MLA. However, from the aforementioned description of their activities in this area it shows their role is rather limited. Every PPO with extended jurisdiction acts on very few cases only and does not practice direct communication with colleagues abroad. They rely on the police contacts and on the MoJ for the formal processing of MLA. Moreover, a systematic knowledge about the international framework of MLA is lacking and it was highlighted by the practitioners as well. All this leads to obstacles, delays and lengthy procedures despite the urgency in some cases. The PPOs with extended jurisdiction at the moment remain a rather passive actor in the overall system.

From all basic prosecution offices, besides the basic PPO Skopje, the Basic PPO on organized crime has the most dynamic international cooperation experience. This is a logical consequence as the crime cases they are dealing with most often have a cross border character and urge the PPO on organised crime to deal with foreign colleagues. The most frequent are the cooperation with the Balkan states, but also Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. However, also contacts to other countries are often needed. The prosecutors in the PPO on organized crime often use direct contacts with their colleagues abroad, if envisaged by legal means or if speed is required; than the initial communication is via email or phone contact and later on everything is formalized through the MoJ by sending the necessary documents through official channels. Also, in urgent cases they often use the ILECU (INERPOL) contact point. The direct communication is also envisaged according to art.36 of the Law on public prosecution.

Judicial Cooperation

General description of the national system for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters

The national MLA structure in The Republic of North Macedonia resembles the structures of all the countries whose framework is based on the internationally ratified treaties in the field. The Ministry of Justice is the Central authority for the transmission of outgoing and incoming MLA requests and the decision in specifically indicated cases; the public prosecution and the Courts, and the supporting law enforcement agencies are referred as national authorities.

The Law on international cooperation in criminal matters and the Law on criminal procedure are the corestone of the national legal framework for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal matters. The Republic of North Macedonia has ratified all the requiring international treaties and regional treaties of the CoE as to international legal assistance. Moreover, although not member of the EU, it has aligned in most parts its legislation to the EU relevant directives ruling the matter,However plenty are yet to be aligned as those are linked to the pending membership. On regional level there is a wide spectre of bilateral agreements signed whish spcificaly target issues of international legal cooperation in criminal matters. At the end of 2008 a cooperation agreement with Eurojust was signed. The Republic of North Macedonia has two contact points for Eurojust, one coming form the MoJ and one from the Prosecution service. Also, a cooperation agreement with of EUROPOL has been sigend. In addition, the country is a member of INTERPOL, ILECU, SELEC/SEEPAG and other regional networks and bodies like the Prosecutors Network of the Western Balkans, is also part of the PCC convention and the related regional body the RCC, etc.

Even if the possibility for direct communication and information exchange among the relevant authorities (e.g. investigative authorities) is existent,  still copies of the documents have to be sent to MoJ for information purposes as MoJ is responsible for collecting information on international cases for statistical purposes. Winthin the MoJ, there is a Spearte Sector on International legal assistance in civil and criminal matters dedicated to process all these requests.

The Law on criminal procedure (LCP) (effective as of the end of 2013) changed the criminal/penal system. The reform altered the modus operandi and the nature of the work of the prosecutors and changed the interaction between the law enforcement institutions involved in the criminal procedure. The main change that occurred is the shift from the investigative judge to the public prosecutor regarding the responsibility as to the investigating procedure. Now the public prosecutor is solely leading the criminal investigation.

On the level of public prosecution, the hierarchy is the three level structure: Basic public prosecution offices (among them 12 have extended jurisidiction and also responsible for MLA), Highe prosecution offices (4) and Public prosecution on the top of this hierarcy. The Public prosecution has a special department for international cooperation. Within this department, the international legal assistance should be processed as well.

However, at this moment, this department is in a phase of reorganisation and enhancement, and is expected that it will become operational soon. Until then, the flow on MLA requests are done directly among prosecutors (national and foreign) and through the MoJ as the main hub for dissemination of incoming and outgoing requests. The PPO on organised crime and corrptuion (one office with jurisdiction over the whole terriroty) has the most dynamic international legal assistance practice which naturaly comes with the scope of work and types of cases they are working on.

The Courts. With the introduction of the accusatorial system in the LCP, the responsibilities for investigative actions were transferred to the public prosecutor including all investigative actions which are part of MLA requests. In investigations, the authorization of the judge of preliminary procedure foreseen with the LCP is limited to coercive measures related to personal liberties and privacy. The preliminary procedure judge is the guardian of freedoms related to the legal performance of the public prosecutor. Her/his main responsibilities are enscoped with the following: deprivation of liberty issues, searches, temporary seizures and freezing, special investigative measures (linked to interception of telecommunications, monitoring/surveillance, access to computer data etc.), plea agreements and most important the processing of cases of international cooperation in criminal matters according to the Law on international cooperation in criminal matters. International legal cooperation in criminal matters involving a judge includes the so called “small” legal assistance (i.e. the transfer of documents, hearing of accused, witness or damaged parties, etc.), extradition, transfer of convicts, and enforcement of foreign judgements in the scope of the imposed sanction.

The Courts accept requests for international legal assistance of foreign courts only if they are submitted through official channels. They themselves use exclusively the MoJ as communication link with foreign countries. The Courts are taking into consideration only those documents which are written in the official Macedonian language with Cyrillic alphabet. Also, legal assistance is provided only in the manner stipulated by national legislation. However, the actions a foreign court requests to perform, may also be executed in the manner requested by the foreign court, if such procedure does not conflict the national law.

Processing MLA requests/working methods

The main aim of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters is obtaining of evidence which exist in other countries for the purposes of national investigations and prosecutions.

  • Exchange of information and obtaining evidence

The initial phase starts with the police, where the initial checks and information exchange are performed via the International police cooperation sector within the Ministry of Interior, where the channels of EUROPOL, INTERPOL and the ILECU Unit are residing. Within this phase the Border police can be involved, if particular information is needed, and if their involvement in information exchange is a prerequisite, having in mind their set up at the borders. Moreover, an inevitable link are the police liaison officers whose role cannot be underestimated as the usually facilitators in police work with foreign countries. In addition, the FIUs and the Custom Administration inspectors can also be involved as they have a mandate for information exchange in their field of work with their respective networks, namely the money laundering and financing of terrorism and the customs related offences applicable to this area.

At this level the information exchange goes between the law enforcement authorities and the judicial involvement is not necessary. However, as the investigation is led by public prosecutor, the practice is that the prosecutor is usually involved or promptly informed even in this phase. If a situation occurs that some information might be useful as evidence, then a MLA request is used as a tool for obtaining it.

  • Judicial cooperation in criminal matters

The base for such cooperation are the international instruments, the regional and the bilateral agreements and memorandums for cooperation which Republic of North Macedonia had ratified or signed. If there is no agreement of any sort with a particular country to legally base the international cooperation, the foreign country should provide written guarantee for reciprocity.

Channels of communication

  • Direct communication channel among the relevant authorities
  • Urgent communication through INTERPOL
  • Central authority (Ministry of Justice)
  • Diplomatic channel (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

It is important to note that even when direct communication or INTERPOL is used as a channel, the Central authority - the Ministry of Justice is promptly or subsequently informed and all the documents further are transmitted through the MoJ.

Identification of relevant authority

Ministry of Justice is the central authority for identification of appropriate authorities on national level and international as well. As a Central authority in majority of cases, the MoJ refers the cases to the appropriate national institutions. However, if there is a conflict in jurisdictions then the receiving institution sends the request where by its opinion is the relevant authority. This might cause delays and it is reflected in this report recommendations. Also a proper information has to be send to the requesting foreign authority. Relevant national authorities are the basic public prosecution offices, basic public prosecution offices  with extended jurisdiction, including the basic public prosecution for combating organised crime and corruption, and the Courts.

Language in use

The Republic of North Macedonia sends MLA request abroad in Macedonian language with a translation to the appropriate language of the country at stake or translation into one of the official languages of Council of Europe. The analogy applies when foreign countries send requests to The Republic of North Macedonia, meaning the whole documentation should be send in original language with translation into Macedonian language. If this requirement is not met, the Ministry of Justice might ask the requesting state for a translation.

Processing MLA

  • When receiving a request or a letter rogatory, the MoJ immediately refers it to the relevant authority except if the request or the letter rogatory should be rejected. If the request lacks documents, the MoJ would request the additional required documents to be submitted.
  • The relevant authority acts in accordance with the national law. If the foreign requesting authority has specific requirement as to the procedure that should be followed in Macedonia these can be net as long as they are not in conflict with the national law.
  • If the MLA request is sent directly to the relevant authority, the relevant national authority acts without delay on the manner indicated in the request, or if not possible it shell send an information to the foreign authority explaining the reasons of the same.
  • If there are obstacles due to the national investigation or other national proceeding and is lined to the foreign country request, the relevant authority shell inform the requesting authority regarding the postponement of the international cooperation.
  • Where the foreign authority has requested to participate, everything should be orgnaised for this to occur. If for some reason they cannot participate, they have the possibility to send questions in written form which would be used while undertaking the particular action.

Macedonian extradition law has been regulated in Articles 50-81 MLA FYROM.The Republic of North Macedonia refuses the extradition of its own nationals (Art. 52, par.1). The prohibition to extradite nationals can be found in Article 4 of the Constitution, although an exception has been made for extradition to the ICTY. Amendment 32 to the Constitution changes Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Constitution and now allows for extradition of nationals, on condition that the applicable convention provides it and with permission of the court. In practice these bilateral agreements now exist with Serbia, Montenegro, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. However, this is limited to some offences.

However, doubt as to whether this is the correct interpretation returns if we look at the declaration made by the Republic of North Macedonia to the European Convention on Extradition, ETS 24. This reads: “Taking into account Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia, which does not allow the extradition of the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, the provisions of this Convention shall only apply to the persons which are not citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.” Literally taken, the reservation is formulated broadly and states that all provisions of the convention can only relate to nationals other than Macedonians. Is it intended to exclude the possibility that the Republic of North Macedonia may request the extradition of a Macedonian from another state?

The Minister of Justice is formally not bound by a decision of the court on granting or refusing extradition (Art. 66). However, in practice the court decision is followed.The Ministry of Justice is the central authority and therefore plays a key role, as the country is rather small and the department of international cooperation has to deal with both civil and criminal cooperation. Both court and ministry report that differences of opinion in practice do not take place. The problems reported with regard to extradition relate to the lengthy procedures. After 180 days in extradition detention the requested person must be released on the basis of Macedonian legislation.

Art. 52, par. 9 requires a new trial when the trial was conducted in absentia. Under Republic of North Macedonia's law the definition of in absentia as provided for by the European Court of Human Rights is leading here.

Article 55 MLAFYROM states “If in the foreign state a death sentences is prescribed for the criminal offence for which extradition is requested, the extradition may be granted if the foreign state provides sufficient guarantee that the death sentence won’t be imposed”. This is a guarantee significantly higher than what is required as a minimum standard imposed by the European Court of Human Rights. The ECtHR requires only the guarantee that a death penalty will not be executed, but does allow its imposition. It is therefore recommended to adjust the formulation to the extent that it will be guaranteed that the death sentence will never be executed.

Art. 72 must be interpreted in such a manner that the requested person may either consent to a simplified procedure or to waive the rule of speciality, or both.

Good practices and satisfaction are reported concerning the simplified extradition procedure. The regular practice is now around 100 days for the regular procedure. With the simplified extradition, extradition may take place as soon as after some 30 days. Problems are reported with Germany, taking with its federal structure more time, and with Serbia. In one case it was some 380 days. The Republic of North Macedonia performs around 50 extraditions per year.

In a reservation to Art. 12 European Convention on Extradition, ETS 24 the Republic of North Macedonia states: “Even in the cases where the final sentence or the arrest warrant are passed by the competent authorities in a country which is Party to this Convention, the Republic of North Macedonia reserves the right to refuse the requested surrender, if an examination of the case in question shows that the said sentence or arrest warrant are manifestly ill-founded.” The Republic of North Macedonia determines this in conjunction with an application of article 66. It does not mean that the degree of suspicion is being tested and that a kind of prima facie evidence test is being performed. It relates to situations in which it is clear right from the start that a refusal will take place. The example was given of an extradition request concerning a national, without the offer to accept transfer of proceedings. In such a case, the Republic of North Macedonia cannot be of assistance anyway.

Articles 74-81 MLAFYROM deal with Macedonian extradition requests to other states. In that context, par. 4 of Article 77 is difficult to understand. This Part III deals with criminal prosecutions in the Republic of North Macedonia. What is then the relevance of a sentence in absentia in a foreign state?

I read the agreement on extradition the Republic of North Macedonia has concluded with Kosovo*.This agreement has been formulated along the lines of ETS 24.

Transfer of proceedings

This form of international cooperation has been regulated in Articles 42-49 MLAFYROM. It is reported that there is practice, albeit not in great numbers.

Art. 43, par. 4 stipulates that in absentia proceedings will not be conducted after accepting the transfer of criminal proceedings. Art. 44 raises the question what is meant with “equalization of the investigative actions”. According to the contact point this means that all actions undertaken in one country are considered to be lawful in the Republic of North Macedonia. This is to be understood as a rule accepting foreign evidence already collected to be admissible in subsequent proceedings in the Republic of North Macedonia.

Art. 46, which deals with transfer of proceedings, refers to Art. 50, which deals with extradition. The expert raised the question of what is the relation of the two provisions. The Ministry of Justice stated that the translation is wrong.

Joint investigation teams

This has been regulated in Art. 38 MLAFYROM and some practice is being reported. The Ministry of Interior has issued Guidelines for criminal investigations. It is stated that the limited set of rules is sufficient for the practice to work with and that further national legislation is not necessary.

Confiscation (both provisional and final)

Does Article 27, par. 1 MLAFYROM give the legal basis for confiscation on request of another state? Does it relate to temporary confiscation or to final confiscation?

In a declaration to Art. 24, par. 3 of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, ETS 198, the Republic of North Macedonia stated that the execution of confiscation decisions is subject to constitutional safeguards. Such a declaration has not been made with regard to the general convention on confiscation, ETS 141, to which the Republic of North Macedonia is also a party. Should this be understood that the constitutional principles and basic principles of the legal system relate to the fact that it concerns terrorism and not to the fact that it concerns confiscation?

 

Transfer of the execution of judgements

Enforcement of the execution of judgements and the transfer of sentenced persons has been regulated in Article 82-103 MLAFYROM. The Republic of North Macedonia will enforce foreign sentences only by making use of the continued enforcement procedure. There is no procedure foreseen under national law to deal with conversion, as the court is not involved in that. Does the choice between these two only relate to situations in which the transfer of the execution coincides with the transfer of the prisoner?

Art. 92 reads that a foreigner serving a sentence given by a Macedonian first instance court may request to serve the sentence in his state of nationality. It does not require that the proceedings have come to an end. Article 96 reads that Macedonian judgements can be transferred before they are final and irrevocable. However, Article 82, 85 and 86 use “final” and therefore opt for another direction. This maybe an issue of translation. It gives the wrong impression.

Art. 98, par. 1 seems to stipulate a rule that ought to be applied by foreign authorities. Is that also in the original? According to the answers received on 16 December 2013, this is in compliance with Article 8 of the 1983 Sentenced Prisoners Convention.

Special investigative techniques

It is reported that all special investigative measures operate very well in the relations with other states.

Cross-border investigations

The provision on cross-border investigations can be found in Art. 37 MLAFYROM. Has it been regulated elsewhere or did I overlook it? Where in the national legislation has it been regulated?

Controlled delivery

Article 36 regulates controlled delivery. Erroneously, the provision received the title “controlled extradition” of persons and objects in the translation. From the information supplied by the contact point it is clear that controlled delivery was intended.

Covert investigations

I did not find any provision on covert investigations. Has it been regulated elsewhere or did I overlook it? Where in the national legislation has it been regulated?

Interception of telecommunication

Article 252 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides for the application of special investigative measures. Among others, inspection of telephone and other electronic communication systems has been provided, together with “secret access and search of computer systems”.

Text in original language, English and/or other available languages of the relevant national laws/provisions of the Criminal procedure codes  on judicial cooperation in criminal matters

 

Law on criminal procedure 

Law on criminal procedure

Law on international cooperation in criminal matters 

Republic of North Macedonia's "Fiches belges"


Links to the relevant sections of the Council of Europe and United Nations Treaties Offices websites containing information on the conventions to which the Republic of North Macedonia is party.

Council of Europe Treaty Office

United Nations Treaty Collection 

      National case law relevant for judicial cooperation in criminal matters           

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Information on the organisation of the EJN

There are two contact points from The Republic of North Macedonia to the EJN: one at the Public Prosecutor of the  Public prosecution office and one at the Departamnet for international Legal Assistance, appointed from the Ministry of Justice.

 

Useful national links

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