Judges, prosecutors, attorneys and police officers taking part in the implementation of the revised law on criminal procedure are undergoing basic training for its implementation.
Aneta Arnaudovska, the Head of the Academy for Training of Judges and Public Prosecutors, the new law introduces a new concept of criminal procedure – a new system in establishing relations between all participants in the procedure.
The purpose of this law is to ensure that public prosecutor takes up a leading role in the investigation, to establish a system of relations between the prosecutor and judicial police and to grant the court a new role throughout the investigation and throughout the trial.
“The whole system of criminal proceeding has been changed in an effort to boost efficiency of the proceeding, but at the same time it strengthens the rights and the freedoms of the parties involved. New measures have been introduced in terms of strengthening the role of defense counsels, who may present their own evidence during the investigation,” Arnaudovska said.
“The new regulation will diminish the role of the magistrate during the investigation, introduce a pre-trial judge tasked to safeguard the human rights and oversee the work of the prosecutor and the judicial police, she added.
Justice Minister Mihajlo Manevski underlined that all conditions have been created for the implementation of the law law on criminal proceeding, following thorough and extensive preparations.
“All participants in the implementation of the law on criminal procedure must be well aware of their powers,” Manevski said.
The Head of OSCE Mission to Skopje, Ambassador Ralf Breth, attended the ceremony marking the start of the training courses. He mentioned certain challenges that need to be addressed – inefficient legal proceedings and lack of confidence in fair and independent judiciary.
The OSCE Mission to Skopje published handbooks to help ensure that the procedure in criminal cases is unified and standardized on all levels of the judiciary. The publications focus on the right to legal defense, the introduction of cross-examination and plea bargaining, and the law's changes with regards to investigations, including the use of special investigative measures.
The OSCE Mission organizes training courses on the new law for judges, prosecutors, attorneys and police officers. The courses are organized in co-operation with the Academy for the Training of Judges and Prosecutors.
Macedonia's parliament passed the revised Law on Criminal Procedure in 2010, with its implementation slated to begin in 2012.