The authorities in North Macedonia are committed to working closely with the Council of Europe and the EU in the process of execution of judgements the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR) and to further consolidate the External Oversight Mechanism (EOM), which is protecting victims of human rights violations perpetrated by persons with police authority or prison police. This was one of the main conclusions of the discussion held at a roundtable meeting with the participation of representatives from relevant national institutions and organisations, and the delegation of Council of Europe’s Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which took place today in Skopje.
The Head of the Operations in the Council of Europe Programme Office in Skopje, Lejla Dervisagic, highlighted the continuous co-operation with all the stakeholders in the efforts to advance the EOM and contribute to building a more secure and humane society. “The Council of Europe has been working closely with the authorities in setting up and building the capacities of the External Oversight Mechanism, which should be completed with the inclusion of representatives of the civil society organizations. The results so far are encouraging, and we hope for the Parliament to soon elect the members from civil society organisations.” emphasised Dervisagic.
Ms Maria Kanellopoulou, Head of Sector, EU Delegation to North Macedonia, noted the positive momentum of the ongoing bilateral screenings under the country’s EU accession process, and the need of the country to fully embrace and implement reforms in the fundamental areas of rule of law and the protection of the rights of the citizens. She also underlined the need for effective participation of civil society and that for greater awareness-raising on the External Oversight Mechanism.
The execution of ECtHR judgments of the Kitanovski group of cases was discussed at the meeting. This group is comprised of eight cases which mainly concern police ill-treatment and ineffective investigations in this respect. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has been supervising the execution of this group of judgments since 2015, assessing that further efforts are needed by the national authorities, so they meet their international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Since 2021, the supervision of execution of this group of cases has been moved under enhanced procedure.
The External Oversight Mechanism was established in 2018 with the support of the European Union and the Council of Europe, to address cases where persons with police authority, while being on or off duty, use force, coercion or serious threat, leading to death, bodily injury, unlawful arrest, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
This roundtable was conducted in the framework of the Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye – Phase III, and its action on “Enhancing the capacities of the penitentiary system in North Macedonia”, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.