Skopje, North Macedonia March 2nd 2023: Training for Judges and Prosecutors

Skopje 02.03.2023. ― AIRE Centre and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, in cooperation with the Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors in North Macedonia, held a training for judges and prosecutors about asset recovery, the process of depriving criminals of their illegally obtained wealth.

Participants had an opportunity to learn more about the importance of asset recovery in the fight against corruption and organised crime, overview of asset recovery efforts in the Western Balkans as well as the role of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office when it comes to this topic, from both national and international experts.

Over 100 judges and prosecutors form North Macedonia learn about importance of asset recovery in the fight against corruption and organised crime



Education was led by His Honour Judge Michael Hopmeier, who sits as a judge at Southwark Crown Court in London and is a Deemster on the Isle of Man. Judge Hopmeier spoke to the judges and prosecutors about the importance of confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime in the context of the fight against organised crime and confiscation. Apart from Judge Hompeier, lectures were also given by Jaka Brezigar, prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Radmila Dragičević Dičić, judge at the Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia and Sandra Krstić, Judge at the Basic Court Skopje.

“Corruption and organised crime remain a prominent issue in the Western Balkans. Therefore, strengthening regional cooperation in asset recovery is one of the key priorities in this region. Western Balkans’ countries need to take joint action when it comes to depriving criminals of their illegally obtained wealth, and practices of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office can serve as valuable examples for judicial institutions in this region, especially when it comes to cross-border investigations. Just in the first year of operations of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, from June 2021 until May 2022, we have opened 929 investigations, raised 28 indictments and frozen assets in value of over 259 million Euros“, said Jaka Brezigar, prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“It is extremely important for future judges and prosecutors to understand that asset recovery of illegally obtained wealth is the most significant result of the fight against organised crime and corruption, as it makes that fight itself more visible, and therefore it deters crime and restores citizens’ trust in the state. Organised crime and corruption rule this region, they are deeply rooted in all layers of society. That is why it is necessary to strengthen awareness of the importance of joint action, as well as independence and integrity of the judiciary. This project is successfully working toward this goal and creating a network of experts from the entire region”, said Radmila Dragičević Dičić, judge at Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Serbia.

Asset recovery is a formal and integral part of all previous National Strategies for reforming the judiciary.Furthermore, the National Asset Management Agency, established within the Law on the Management of Confiscated Assets in 2018, has elaborated two strategic plans in order to strengthen the capacity for conducting financial investigations and asset confiscation. While this is a positive step towards introducing a systematic approach to asset recovery, it should be implemented in practice and further developed, which may require further support from external international specialists.

Furthermore, in North Macedonia, legislation for the freezing, seizure and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds from crime are provided for in the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. There have been no new asset recovery instruments adopted or amendments to existing asset recovery provisions since 2018. However, a working group is currently established within the Ministry of Justice to consider several amendments to the CPC to provide a better perspective for confiscation. The Ministry of Justice has also established a Working Group focused on drafting a new CC, including issues relating to confiscation.

Effective implementation of domestic legislation and international standards is a crucial aspect of the fight against crime and plays an important role in building public confidence in both national and international institutions. AIRE centre and RAI are contributing to raising awareness about challenges North Macedonia still faces, by organising educational events and issuing publications on best practices that should be implemented in this country.

The education “Judicial challenges and solutions: International and regional perspective” was held as part of the project “Combating corruption and organised crime in the Western Balkans through strengthening regional cooperation in asset recovery”, implemented by the AIRE Centre and Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative – RAI and supported by the UK Government. Find out more at Asset Recovery Platform.