Since 1991, the United States has supported North Macedonia’s goal to become a prosperous, stable, and inclusive multi-ethnic democracy. One of the newest NATO members and a committed partner to the United States, North Macedonia is challenged with weak rule of law institutions, corruption, and the difficult-yet-required passage of constitutional changes to proceed with EU negotiations.
INL’s efforts support the strengthening of rule of law and security through criminal justice sector reform, anti-corruption efforts, and greater transparency and accountability of the government to its citizens.
- Rule of Law – reach justice sector benchmarks required for EU accession; advance prison reform as a key component of overall justice sector reform.
- Civilian Security and Law Enforcement – improve law enforcement’s ability to deliver professional, respectful, equitable, transparent, and accountable policing services.
INL aims to support North Macedonia’s justice sector in investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption, with the hope of increasing timely convictions and public trust. Additionally, INL works to support North Macedonia’s adoption and implementation of legislative reforms to the criminal procedure and penal codes, with the goal of improving efficiency and transparency to North Macedonia’s public.
In coordination with North Macedonia’s Ministry of Justice and Public Prosecutor’s Office, INL seeks to provide technical assistance, advisory support, and training to implement the government’s National Strategy for Reform of the Justice System 2023-2037 and its corresponding action plan.
INL works toward strengthening North Macedonia’s law enforcement training and forensic laboratory practices to meet international standards. It supports the implementation of anti-corruption measures and a professionalized police force that builds trust with North Macedonia’s citizenry and provides equitable services to all communities in the country.
INL seeks to support the country’s Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions in implementing practices, procedures, and processes to operate safe, humane, and transparent correctional facilities, as well as expand an existing prison intelligence unit to address terrorism-related threats, organized crime, and corruption activity.
- With INL-funded training, the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions conducted raids in in 2022 and 2023 of high-risk prison wings, seizing significant contraband and evidence for prosecutors including cell phones, drugs, weapons, and cash. INL also installed X-ray baggage scanners in four major prisons, leading to an immediate reduction in contraband (drugs, cell phones, etc.) entering the prison system.
- As a result of an INL-funded body-worn camera project, there was a reduction in citizen corruption complaints against the traffic police across the country in 2022.
- INL funds the Department of Justice’s Resident Legal Advisor, who consulted North Macedonia prosecutors on terrorism cases and utilized tools within pre-existing mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs). These prosecutors also secured convictions in 2018 and 2019 against 11 repatriated foreign terrorist fighters and convicted nine terrorists for planning a domestic attack in North Macedonia, helping North Macedonia become the regional leader in the length of sentences for terrorism-related crimes.
- The judiciary utilized INL-provided audio-visual equipment in 2019 to speed up and broadcast high-profile corruption trials, increasing judicial efficiency and transparency.