Training on “International legal aspects of the fight against corruption”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
North Macedonia

On 22 April 2021, the “Pavel Shatev” Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors and IRZ organised a joint online training session on “International legal aspects of the fight against corruption”. The event was aimed at judges and public prosecutors from North Macedonia.

The lectures were given by:

  • Senior Public Prosecutor Markus Busch, Head of Division II A 4 - Combating Economic, Computer, Corruption and Environmental Crime by means of Criminal Law, Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and Head of the German Delegation to GRECO (Group of States against Corruption), as well as
  • Senior Public Prosecutor Dr. Todor Vitlarov, a Senior Prosecutor from Stip and Chairman of the Association of Public Prosecutors of North Macedonia.

The organisers had chosen the bilateral approach for the training, as GRECO recommendations play an important role for both countries. The GRECO recommendations for North Macedonia were therefore the main focus of the training session. In addition, Markus Busch, who has many years of experience in implementing international anti-corruption regulations, gave deeper insights into GRECO's working methods.

Both speakers also addressed issues of integrity and anti-corruption within the judiciary, paying attention to ethics and the self-perception of public prosecutors, judges and other people working in the justice system. Both speakers clarified the practical relevance of their remarks with some illustrative examples.

Training in advance of amendments to the mediation law

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
North Macedonia

On 23 March 2021, the “Pavel Shatev” Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors and IRZ organised their first joint online training session on “The stages and types of mediation”. The event was prompted by the upcoming amendments to the mediation law, which represent an important part of judicial reform. The target group was therefore made up of judges, as well as future and current mediators.

After the welcome speeches by Sonja Mojsovska from the Academy and Dr. Stefan Pürner representing IRZ, the following lectures took place:

  • Stevkova Nikolovska (Skopje): An introduction to mediation - present situation and future perspectives
  • Dr. Zoran Vuchev (Skopje): Mediation in labour, family and commercial disputes
  • Ingrid Hönlinger (Ludwigsburg): Mediation in Germany

During the lectures, it became clear that mediation in North Macedonia is not yet given the required level of priority. The amendments to the law along with training courses such as this one should help to achieve this. The common theme throughout all the lectures was that mediation enables the independent resolution of disputes, as well as saving costs.

Unlike in other judicial systems, mediation is permitted for family cases in North Macedonia only in the event of disputes over property, but not when it comes to rights of custody and access. Initiatives to try to change the provisions relating to this have not met with any success so far. From a German point of view, it is clear that the use of mediation for labour disputes is very widespread in North Macedonia and results in a settlement in over 90 percent of cases. During the discussions, it was revealed that the heavy use of mediation in this area is above all down to the high cost risk of settling labour disputes in court in North Macedonia.

IRZ expert Ingrid Hönlinger gave a lecture on the current situation in Germany for mediation, including the legal framework. A lawyer and certified mediator, she also presented the model for the five stages of mediation:

  1. Clarification of tasks
  2. Identification of issues
  3. Positions and interests / exploration of views and background
  4. Collection and assessment of possible solutions
  5. Concluding agreemen
As part of this presentation, she also gave plenty of practical tips on the soft skills required of mediators. The event was well-attended by almost forty participants, including the lawyer Dr. Veronika Horrer, who is Managing Director of the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) and responsible for cooperation with IRZ, and who wanted to learn about the situation with regards to mediation in North Macedonia.

Advice on the reform of the penal code in North Macedonia

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ
North Macedonia

IRZ has been advising the Ministry of Justice of North Macedonia for several months now on its reform of the penal code. The reform process is being supported by a working group from the Ministry, which held its inaugural meeting online on 15 February 2021. The twenty or so legal experts and legal practitioners in the working group were welcomed to the meeting by Nikolina Mikeska from the Ministry of Justice of North Macedonia, Ana Novakova Zhikova from the OSCE Mission in Skopje, and Dr. Stefan Pürner, the responsible IRZ Head of Section.

During the meeting, the leader of the working group, Prof. Dr. Kambovski, expressed the need for a unified system and uniform structures in terms of the penalties provided for by the law. The activities of the working group and the reform process for the penal code in North Macedonia will focus on fulfilling this requirement over the coming months.

During the second half of 2021, the draft of the revised penal code will be presented to the public, thereby allowing any interested parties in the professional community to have a say in the reform process.

As part of the consultancy services provided by IRZ, German legal experts from the academic and business worlds have already given their expert opinions on draft criminal law provisions. These reports cover the following subjects:

  • economic crime
  • fighting terrorism
  • cybercrime
  • protection of elections
  • cloning and artificial parenthood
  • insolvency offences

The authors gave their expert opinions on draft laws from North Macedonia, taking into account the contents of the corresponding penal law provisions in Germany and any relevant international and European provisions.