Some of the participants in the Macedonian delegation on the roof terrace of the German Foreign Office with Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva (centre)
Some of the participants in the Macedonian delegation on the roof terrace of the German Foreign Office with Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva (centre)

From 23 to 27 September 2018, the Macedonian special prosecution office was in Berlin to learn about “The criminal investigation process in Germany”. The working visit was organised by the IRZ as part of a project financed by the German Foreign Office. The special prosecution office was set up at the instigation of the EU, after approx. 600,000 phone calls made by at least 20,000 Macedonian citizens had been illegally recorded. The special prosecution office also resolves other criminal investigations involving high-ranking politicians and other officials.

The delegation led by special prosecutor Katica Janeva was made up of six employees from the special prosecution office, who completed an extensive programme. The working visit began with a welcome to the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection by senior government official Dr. Christiane Unland-Schlebes, INT-KOR department, and two expert lectures by regional court judges Dr. Lasse Dinter, department RB2/RB3, and EStA Dr. Frank Böhme, department II A4.

These were followed by other lectures and expert talks by and including (in chronological order):

  • Former Head of Criminal Investigations, Hans-Dieter Hilken,
  • Senior Public Prosecutor Frank Seidel, Frankfurt/Oder,
  • Senior Public Prosecutor Björn Kelpin, Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office, and
  • Police Chief Superintendent, Frank Pein, Berlin.

Former Senior Public Prosecutor, Ralf Rother, Berlin, was also available for an exchange of thoughts and experiences.

The official Foreign Office representative for South-East Europe, Turkey and the EFTA countries, Ambassador Dr. Christian Hellbach, also welcomed the delegation to the Foreign Office.

Thanks to the speakers’ expertise in a broad range of subjects, as well as their extensive practical experience, the Macedonian guests were able to gain an insight into the criminal investigation process in Germany. They were particularly interested in learning about the fight against corruption, money laundering and asset recovery.

Two examples from the latest German legislation, namely § 299a of the penal code “Corruption in healthcare” and § 73 of the penal code in the version resulting from the law on the reform of the recovery of criminal assets from 2017, were seen by the participants in the delegation de lege ferenda as solutions for Macedonian law.

Since the IRZ is currently having the German penal code (StGB) translated into Macedonian as part of another project, these standards and the translated excerpts from the reasoning of the law will be made available to the Macedonian Ministry of Justice and other disseminators in the country.

The event was also supported by the German Federal Bar, which provided the premises for the expert talks, since the meeting room in the “home of the law”, the headquarters of the Berlin subsidiary of the IRZ, was not available due to ongoing renovation work.