In the period from 5 to 12 March 2022, as a result of the recently signed Memorandum of Cooperation between the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Justice Academy of Turkey, the judicial delegation from North Macedonia consisting of 20 candidates from the seventh generation of students of the Academy initial training, led by prof. Natasa Gaber Damjanovska PhD, Director of the Academy, as well as the state councillor of the Academy, representatives of the Academy bodies related to the initial training activities and Sali Murati, former President of the Constitutional Court of Republic of North Macedonia, realized study visit in Republic of Turkey.
The Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Justice Academy of Turkey maintain traditional cooperation of many years and organize joint educational events, exchange of experiences and educational materials, and realize study visits on which the representatives of the judiciary from both countries have the opportunity to get to know the application and practice of law and justice in the respective countries.
Comprehensive agenda was prepared by the Justice Academy of Turkey for the judicial delegation from North Macedonia, which was harmonized with the interests of the representatives from our country and with the current topics from the field of law. During the visit, the Academy students were continuously accompanied by 10 candidates from the initial training of the Justice Academy of Turkey.
After the arrival of our delegation in Ankara on 7 March 2022, the representatives were welcomed by the Director of the Justice Academy of Turkey and its representatives. On this occasion, prof. Natasa Gaber Damjanovska PhD, Director of the Academy, expressed her sincere gratitude in the address to the Justice Academy of Turkey with the hope such beautiful cooperation to continue in the future as well with the same success. Afterwards, presentation of the UYAP system was held by the AJPP representatives, which proved to be quite impressive and excellent example of a functional electronic system with full access by the judicial bodies to all information on the parties in a respective case i.e. their property status, bank accounts, cadastre and access to their insurance and health status. Considering the fact that in the current year Republic of North Macedonia was focused on digitalization of the judiciary, such visit and the exchange of experiences were an excellent opportunity to present positive solutions which can be implemented in North Macedonia. Furthermore, the representatives from the Ministry of Justice of R. Turkey held a presentation of the electronic system of judicial documents, on which the method of delivery of invitations and all other documents to the respective parties was elaborated and the benefits i.e. the speed and efficiency of such method of delivery. The concept of digital forensics was also presented during this educational event by the expert from the Forensic Science Institute, who gave a short review of the tools used in the digital forensics and the method of data processing.
In the course of the lectures, the manner of dealing with human trafficking was also presented to the attendants in the context of the UN legislation, the basic principles of the Council of Europe with regards to the activities for combating human trafficking, as well as cases of the European Court of Human Rights in relation with human trafficking, while the Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara held a presentation on the topic human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in the Turkish criminal law and elaborated the differences between smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of human beings, how to easily distinguish smuggling and trafficking of human beings, the experiences in this area and the challenges the public prosecutors face with when working on the cases related to human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
Furthermore, considering the fact that on a global level the public is mainly focused on two topics i.e. the fugitive crisis and global migration, opinions and experiences were presented to our representatives with reference to the status of fugitives from the UN perspective, as well as the EU legal frames for protection of asylum-seekers and fugitives and the legal frame for repatriation, deportation and extradition in accordance with the Turkish law and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In that regard, one of the lectures dedicated to ECHR was with reference to Article 4 of ECHR. From the judgements, which were part of the presentation, it was established that the court must consider the fact that the context of the provision is the treaty for effective protection of particular human rights and that the Convention must be read as a whole and interpreted in a way that supports the internal coherence and harmonization between the various provisions. Also, all relevant rules and principles of the international law applicable to the relation between the contracting parties must be taken into consideration, and the Convention should be construed as much as possible in compliance with the other rules of the international law of which the Convention itself is a part. The goal and the intention of the Convention, as an instrument for the protection of individuals, impose its provisions to be construed and applied in a manner in which its guarantees should be practical and effective (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia). In the same judgement, the specific context of the term “human trafficking” was also construed. The term “human trafficking” is not mentioned in Article 4; however, “slavery”, “servitude” and “forced or compulsory labour” is forbidden (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia). There is no doubt that human trafficking is a threat to the human dignity and the fundamental freedoms of the victims and it cannot be deemed compatible to the democratic society and the values stipulated in the Convention (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia, § 282). Therefore, the Court, considering its obligation to construe the Convention in the light of the current courts, deems that it is necessary to determine, in the specific context of human trafficking, whether the case where the plaintiff brings the legal action refers to “slavery”, “servitude” and “forced or compulsory labour” (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia,). The Court deems that human trafficking, within the meaning of Article 3(a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and Article 4(a) of the Convention of the Council of Europe on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, is within the scope of Article 4 of the Convention (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia). In the judgement (C.N. and V. v. France) the Court noted that servitude was a specific form of forced or compulsory labour, or, in other words, “aggravated” forced or compulsory labour. In fact, the essential trait making the difference between servitude and forced or compulsory labour within the meaning of Article 4 of the Convention lies in the feeling of victims that their situation is permanent and it will probably not change. The Court establishes that it is sufficient for such feeling to be based on the aforementioned objective criteria or to be challenged or maintained by the persons responsible for the situation. In the same judgement, the Court established that the first plaintiff was held in servitude; however, the second plaintiff was not. In the judgements, the Court set the positive obligation for the introduction of the relevant legal and administrative framework.
In that regard, the Court believes that the spectrum of guarantees stipulated with the national legislation must be proper in order to ensure practical and effective protection of the rights of the victims or the potential victims of human trafficking. Hence, the Court deemed that, apart from the measures from the Criminal Code for punishing people trading human beings, Article 4 imposes the Member States to introduce relevant measures for the regulation of the activities that are often used to conceal human trafficking. Article 4 of the Convention implies a process obligation to conduct an investigation in a case with a justified doubt that the right of the individual was infringed according to the said Article (C.N. v. the United Kingdom; Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia). The Court emphasized that the request for conducting investigation does not depend on the appeal lodged by the victim or close relative thereof; the competent authorities must act on their own initiative immediately after becoming aware of the problem.Furthermore, the Court confirmed that in order for the investigation to be effective, it must be conducted without being dependent on the persons implied in the events and that it must lead to identification and punishment of the perpetrators, obligation of the means and not the result. The request for fast reaction and reasonable efficiency is implied in all cases; however, when there is a possibility for the affected person to be removed from the harmful situation, in such case the investigation must be urgently carried out. Eventually, the victim or close relative must be involved in the procedure to the extent necessary to protect their legitimate interest (L.E. v. Greece). In this particular context of human trafficking, apart from the obligation for carrying out national investigation about the events that occurred on their territory, the Member States are also subjected to the obligation, in cases of cross-border human trafficking, to effectively cooperate with the relevant competent authorities from the other affected country for the purpose of carrying out the investigation of the events that occurred outside their territory (Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia).
After the completion of these educational events, the representatives from North Macedonia who attended these events received participation certificates. See gallery here.
The visit of the Ministry of Justice of Republic of Turkey, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey and the Court of Cassation was of great importance for the delegation from North Macedonia, where, apart from the President of the Court, they also realized a work meeting with the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation. The judicial system was presented at the meeting from the perspective of the institution they represent, as well as the competencies and the way of functioning of these institutions aimed at ensuring rule of law and equal access to justice for all citizens of the Republic of Turkey. During the visit, prof. Natasa Gaber Damjanovska PhD, Director of the Academy, and the former President of the Constitutional Court of RNM held a work meeting with the representatives of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).
At the meeting, the Director expressed her gratitude for the cooperation established so far between the Academy and TİKA. At the same time, the possibilities for realization of future joint activities within this cooperation were reviewed, as well as the organization of the next study visit which would involve the other students from the seventh generation in the initial training of the Academy. See the gallery here.
The first people of both Academies at the end of the visit acknowledged the efforts for mutual action in the future via organization and realization of many educational events, in accordance with the signed Memorandum of Cooperation, where the judges and the public prosecutors from both countries will have the opportunity to exchange experiences, gain new knowledge aimed at the promotion of the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial systems in both countries in line with the highest European and global standards and principles which guarantee the rule of law.
The study visit of the Republic of Turkey ended on 11 March 2022 with the visit of famous landmarks of the Republic of Turkey.
The realization of this study visit was organized within the signed Memorandum of Cooperation between the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Justice Academy of Turkey, in cooperation and with the financial support provided by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), whereby it is the first activity which is part of the Memorandum signed by the first people of both Academies on 25 December 2021.