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  • Writer's pictureInternational Lawyers Project

North Macedonia: Corruption Sanctions Submission

Macedonia skyline

© Jove/Adobe Stock


North Macedonia’s right-wing party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian Unity (“VMRO-DPMNE”), came to power in the 2006 parliamentary elections. They introduced a scheme by which North Macedonian citizens, journalists, and opposition officials were wiretapped in order to subvert political opposition to VMRO-DPMNE’s rule. In 2015, 670,000 of these recordings were leaked to the public. The recordings exposed evidence of corruption, election fraud, and the cover up of an alleged murder by VMRO-DPMNE. The wiretapping scandal was followed by protests against the VMRO-DPMNE, the election of a new Prime Minister in 2016, and the establishment of a Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate abuses of power by senior government officials.  One of the wealthiest individuals in North Macedonia has close ties to VMRO-DPMNE. This individual has previously been found guilty on charges of criminal association, abuse of office, and illegal influence and has been subject to investigations for corrupt activities, associated with two others.

ILP’s Action

ILP supported young legal practitioners to secure pro bono legal assistance to draft a formal submission to the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office UK (FCDO) requesting sanctions under the UK Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime (UK GACS) against the three North Macedonian individuals mentioned above. This submission was drafted, finalised and submitted to the relevant authorities at the FCDO, and remains pending.


Assistance provided to the young legal practitioners to draft and submit the sanctions submission increased their professional capacity and gave them the tools they need to understand and use the UK GACS in future. Such support will lead to the tool being used more frequently and more effectively, meaning the UK GACS regime can achieve a greater impact in tackling corruption globally, and is more likely to be used in conjunction with other sanctions regimes. This in turn contributes to defending the rule of law globally.  


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