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"The need for an independent judiciary is paramount to a democracy," said U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Philip Reeker. In remarks given February 3rd in Skopje to the Academy for Training Judges and Prosecutors, Ambassador Reeker said the United States supports Macedonia in the creation of a positive rule of law culture. "An independent judiciary," he said, "is part of the essential checks and balances between the branches of government and it is a basic standard of the rule of law, both in Europe and across the Atlantic in the United States and I might add in Canada and many other democracies."
The Academy hosted Ambassador Reeker and representatives of the Microsoft Corporation for the unveiling of a Microsoft-designed software system to aid in tracking court cases across Macedonia. The Ambassador noted that the system is designed to aid transparency and help Macedonia meet European standards for application of the law.
"Successful rule of law does not simply mean passing appropriate legislation," Ambassador Reeker told the attendees. "For a democracy to thrive, full implementation of laws across all sectors without bias must occur."
"Corruption and politicization sow seeds of doubt that undermine any statutory progress. Government interference in individual cases undermines democracy and creates a climate of fear among the population and judges who seek to uphold the law," he said. "We have learned these lessons throughout our history in the United States."
Transparency of the judicial process is another key to sustaining the rule of law. "Transparency does not mean selective publishing of information when it is convenient for the court or only when forced to by civic groups and the international community," the ambassador said. "The need for transparency also applies to the actions and court filings of prosecutors and to the deliberations and decisions of the Judicial Council.”
The United States has helped fund projects designed to encourage interaction between the Macedonian court system and the citizenry. The Academy for Judges and Prosecutors plays a vital role in strengthening the rule of law in Macedonia, because it is the institution responsible for educating future generations of Macedonian judges and prosecutors.
The United States hopes the software system initiative will lead to future partnerships to strengthen transparency, judicial independence, law enforcement and justice in Macedonia and thus help move Macedonia forward toward its Euro-Atlantic goals.