DCAF assists partner states in developing laws, institutions, policies, and practices that improve governance and accountability in their security sectors. International norms and the principles of impartiality, local ownership, inclusive participation, and gender equality are at the core of DCAF` s support to national reforms.
Since 2017, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia intensified the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration efforts and started important reforms in the security and intelligence sector, advancing democratic transition and contributing to a return of public confidence in state institutions.
In support of these reforms, DCAF implemented “Intelligence Sector Reform Programme in North Macedonia” from November 2017 to March 2021. Within the framework of the Programme, DCAF cooperated with the Academy, supporting North Macedonian judicial system to develop their expertise and capacity for independent supervision of the use of intrusive methods for information collection by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Programme activities have steered the creation of new knowledge products and training opportunities tailored to empower members of the judiciary to apply in legal practice relevant criteria and principles derived from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
During 2018-19, the Programme facilitated the development of a structured and systematic dialogue within the national judiciary, on judicial authorization of intrusive methods. It augmented the appreciation and awareness of the role that the judiciary plays as powerful safeguard against the abuse of intrusive methods. Furthermore, the Programme developed the Benchbook on Implementation of Measures for Interception of Communications, publication designed to guide practitioners involved in the request, authorization, and review of intrusive methods in using ECtHR-enshrined standards. Since the end of 2019, the Programme has focused on developing local training capacity and ensuring continuous dissemination of knowledge and good practice in the judicial authorization of intrusive methods. Trainings and workshops have been designed and organised jointly with the Academy.
Based on these results and inspired by both local stakeholders and donors, starting from 01 April 2021, DCAF launched a subsequent programme titled “Intelligence & Security Sector Reform Programme in the Republic of North Macedonia” (2021-2026). The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland fund this programme.
The Programme strives to ensure that intelligence and security services in North Macedonia operate effectively under the rule of law and effective democratic control and oversight (Programme goal). The Programme seeks to make an effective and sustainable contribution towards improved democratic governance of the security sector thus contributing to enhanced stability, rule of law and security for the state and the citizens (Development Goal).
The cooperation between the Academy and DCAF in the implementation of the “Intelligence & Security Sector Reform Programme in the Republic of North Macedonia” (2021-2026), established with a Cooperation Agreement, contributes toward strengthening judicial competency and capacity in the authorization of intrusive methods for information collection, thus increasing judicial independence in the Republic of North Macedonia.
In that sense, DCAF shall support the Academy to strengthen its capacity and expertise in organising educational activities focused on judicial authorization of intrusive methods for information collection and reaching out to both entry level (students) and serving judges and prosecutors. DCAF`s support to the Academy will aim to develop local capacity in judicial and prosecutorial training in areas relevant for the use of intrusive methods for information collection and the judicial supervision over them. This is a precondition for sustainable Programme results.