The explanatory screening meeting for Chapter 23 "Justice and fundamental rights" is taking place today in Brussels, concluding the explanatory screening for the first Cluster, "Foundations".
- The reforms of the Macedonian judicial system and the rule of law are key issues in our EU accession process. We have the political will and commitment to solve the shortcomings in key areas such as the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organized crime, and freedom of the media, and we will continue to fulfil our obligations until the complete modernization and European functioning of the judicial system, said Deputy Prime Minister Maricik.
Maricik emphasized that as a former Minister of Justice, he knows very well the importance of the rule of law, independence and efficient judiciary, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption, and that this explanatory meeting comes at the right moment, because it will give direction and the opportunity to properly plan the reforms.
During the presentation, the main negotiator with the Union, Maricik, shared with the representatives of the European Commission recent achievements in this chapter, noting that the period for the implementation of the Strategy for the Reform of the Judicial Sector 2017-2022 is nearing its end, the preparation of a new one is under way are a four-year Strategy.
-The legal framework adopted in 2019 and 2020, which includes the Law on Courts, the Law on the Judicial Council, the Law on the Council of Public Prosecutors and the Law on the Public Prosecutor's Office, laid the foundations for ensuring judicial independence and accountability, the rules for appointments based on merits, property and verification of conflict of interest and disciplinary procedures, Maricik added.
Maricik also referred to the achievements within the current digitization of the judiciary and the digital services that are available to citizens on the national e-service portal, such as electronic confirmations from criminal records for individuals and legal entities, as well as interoperability for electronic exchange of data among 86 institutions.
In order to achieve greater judicial transparency, Maricik said that the Judicial Council adopted the Action Plan for Open Judiciary 2021-2023 and that all activities so far are aimed at improving the electronic court portal, improving the quality and availability of data and information about the work of The Judicial Council and the courts, strengthening the supervisory role of the Judicial Council, as well as improving the electronic system for basic and continuous training of judges.
Maricik at today's explanatory screening meeting said that North Macedonia has made progress in consolidating records for investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, including at a high level, and that the institutional framework has been strengthened, especially the capacities of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption.
The National strategy for financial investigations and confiscation of property for the period 2021 - 2023 has been adopted.
The strategy reflects the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and the provisions of the relevant EU directives, with the ultimate goal of increasing the effectiveness of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing at the national level, Maricik pointed out, adding that the legal framework for the protection of fundamental rights in it is largely in line with European standards. Maricik announced that improvements to the probation system will be included in the ongoing revision of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Law, and regarding the fight against disinformation, Maricik said that the Government has introduced "zero tolerance" for all cases of hate speech and that this remains to be among the top priorities of the Government.
Today's meeting ends with the explanatory meetings for Cluster 1 - "Foundations", and the bilateral screening for the chapters and areas of this Cluster will be held until the end of this year, that is, in November and December.
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