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Expert discussion on legal standing and rights of human trafficking victims in judicial proceedings in North Macedonia

Skopje 17 March 2021
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Expert discussion on legal standing and rights of human trafficking victims in judicial proceedings in North Macedonia

DESCRIPTION OF EVENT

Legal standing and rights of human trafficking victims in judicial proceedings were in the focus of the expert discussion targeting judges, prosecutors and members of the National Anti-trafficking Commission (30 participants) organised within the framework of the EU and Council of Europe joint action "Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in North Macedonia“.

During the event key findings and recommendations on legal standing and rights of human trafficking victims in judicial proceedings, based on the analysis of judgments and CoE standards, were presented and discussed with the participants. The participants acknowledged the need for greater protection of the victims during judicial proceedings in view of their psychological fragility. Timely free legal aid, support for the child victims by persons of confidence, victim protection measures, the role of NGOs supporting trafficking victims, the non-punishment provision were among the topics discussed. The participants underlined that the state should fulfil its obligations to provide free legal aid paid by the budget and ensure access to compensation for the trafficking victims.

Danica Stoshevska, the representative of the EU delegation informed the participants about the mains aspects of the 2020-2025 EU Strategy on victims’ rights. She underscored that protection of victims and children is among top priorities for EU.

The expert discussion was organised within the framework of the second Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) anti-trafficking course, which is organised in cooperation with the Academy for judges and prosecutors. So far, 120 judges, criminal prosecutors, lawyers and post-graduate law students have completed the HELP anti-trafficking course in North Macedonia.