1. What is the primary purpose of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Content of the Illegally Intercepted Communications (Special Public Prosecutor’s Office)?

In accordance with the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Content of the Illegally Intercepted Communication, the primary purpose of this Prosecutor’s Office within the judicial system of Republic of Macedonia is to investigate and prosecute the criminal offences related to and arising from the contents of the illegally intercepted communications.

How is the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office structured?

This prosecutor’s office is organised according to the principles of hierarchy and subordination. The operation of this Public Prosecutor’s Office is independently managed by a Public Prosecutor for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Illegally Intercepted Communications, who is elected by the Council of Public Prosecutors of Macedonia at the proposal of the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia, allocates activities and work assignments, and is responsible for timely and good-quality performance of said activities (Special Public Prosecutor). The function of Public Prosecutor of this Public Prosecutor’s Office is performed by the Public Prosecutor in person, who manages the public prosecutor’s office, and by the public prosecutors elected in the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The public prosecutors who assist the Special Public Prosecutor are elected by the Council of Public Prosecutors at the proposal of the Special Public Prosecutor. The Special Public Prosecutor appoints two deputies, who provide assistance in the managing role in order to ensure timely and good-quality performance of operations. The Special Public Prosecutor’s Office also includes investigators, experts, and the professional and administrative services.

Which criminal offences is it competent for?

The Special Public Prosecutor’s Office is competent for prosecution of criminal offences related to and arising from the contents of the illegally intercepted communications. The expression “illegal interception of communications” is defined as the unauthorised interception of all communications that took place between 2008 and 2015, including, but not limited to audio recordings and transcripts submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office before 15 July 2015.

Within this context, the legislator has clearly delimited and differentiates between two categories of process competence, exclusive to this Public Prosecutor’s Office. The first category refers to the criminal offences being related to the unauthorised interception of communications, while the second refers to the criminal offences arising from the unauthorised interception of communications. The above relation encompasses a broader spectrum including all criminal actions of abuse of the systems for interception of communications.

What kinds of criminal actions may be reported?

The kinds of criminal offences that can be reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Content of Illegally Intercepted Communications are criminal actions of committed criminal offences that are within the competence of this Public Prosecutor’s Office.

How can you contact us?

Citizens in need of contacting the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Content of the Illegally Intercepted Communications should send a request specifying the reason for requesting contact with this Public Prosecutor’s Office. The requests may be submitted in person, by post, or online.

In addition, each interested party may send a written request to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, stating the telephone number(s) which they suspect have been subject to illegal interception of communications. The request should indicate the names of the persons that used said telephone numbers and their contact details.

How can I report a suspected criminal offence?

Every person in possession of any kind of evidence of committed criminal offences that are within the competence of this Public Prosecutor’s Office can deliver them in writing, and will be duly notified of the manner the evidence will be acted upon. The reporting of suspected criminal offences is also regulated by the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers.

In what manner is a report of suspected criminal offence processed?

The allegations of the events reported in the submission are analysed and examined for correlation with the existence of reasonable doubt of committed criminal offences that are related to and arising from the contents of the illegal interception of communications conducted in the above period, upon which the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office is competent to act.

Who processes the report?

The report is processed by the Professional Public Prosecution service of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office in coordination with and at the final approval of the public prosecutors.

What happens after you submit a report?

The Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences Related to and Arising from the Content of the Illegally Intercepted Communications sends a response in due course to all persons who have submitted a report, notifying them of the possibility of instigating a procedure regarding the reported events or establishing competence over cases during the phase of the procedure when such information may be revealed in accordance with criminal procedure provisions. To this end, the persons reporting the events are required to specify a postal address to which the response will be duly delivered. This may include an e-mail address if the person does not have a permanent residence within the territory of Republic of Macedonia. For submissions by anonymous persons an official note with the same contents will be created.

Will I be notified if a procedure is instigated based on my report?

Each person that submits a certain report receives a response concerning the actions taken based on their submission, during the phase of the procedure when such information may be revealed, in accordance with criminal procedure provisions.

What if I am summoned as a witness or suspect?

The persons summoned as witnesses are those that are likely to make statements regarding a certain criminal offence and its perpetrator, as well as other important circumstances. The summons will contain the purpose for which the person is being summoned. Each person summoned to testify is obliged to answer the summons and make a statement, unless the criminal procedure provisions stipulate otherwise. If the duly summoned witness fails to appear and does not justify their absence, or abandons the site of interrogation without prior approval or justified reason, they can be forcibly brought to the site by court order, and the court can punish them by imposing a fine. The criminal procedure provisions apply during the examination of the witness, and the person will be notified of their rights and obligations, that is, of the instances in which the person may be released from the obligation of testifying, of the right of the witness not to answer certain questions, and of the questions that must not be posed to the person acting as witness, as well as of the consequences of making a false statement. Minutes will be kept during the testimony, which the witness has the right to read.

Any person against whom a pre-trial procedure is being conducted is a suspect. Prior to the completion of the investigation procedure, the public prosecutor is obliged to examine the suspect (if they have not already done so). A defendant is a person against whom a bill of indictment has been confirmed, a proposal of indictment has been issued, a proposal for taking a measure of precaution has been issued, a private lawsuit has been filed, or a proposal for the issuance of a penal order has been issued. According to the Law on Criminal Procedure, the term “defendant” is also used as a general term to denote a suspect, defendant and convicted person. The defendant is obliged to answer the summons and immediately report any change of address or intention of changing their permanent or temporary residence, at which point they will also be notified of their rights and obligations, and the criminal procedure provisions apply during the interrogation of the defendant. Adequate minutes will be taken of the examination or the examination will be audio-visually recorded, and the minutes or a sample of the recording will be mandatorily sent to the defendant (suspect).

Is it mandatory that I appear with a defence counsel?

Each person suspected of or charged with a criminal offence has the right to defence counsel throughout the entire criminal procedure against them. Prior to the first examination or a different action for which this obligation is stipulated in the criminal procedure provisions, the defendant must be notified of their right to defence counsel of their choosing with whom they can counsel in private, and who is allowed to attend the interrogation. The Law on Criminal Procedure prescribes mandatory defence in the following instances:

  • when the defendant is dumb, deaf, or incapable of mounting a successful defence on their own;
  • if a criminal procedure is being conducted against them for a criminal offence for which the law prescribes a sentence of life imprisonment;
  • if it has been ordered for the defendant to be taken into custody, for the duration of the custody;
  • following the issuance of a bill of indictment for a criminal offence for which the law prescribes a sentence of ten or more years in prison, the defendant must have a defence counsel at the time of delivery of the bill of indictment;
  • during the procedure of negotiation and settlement with the prosecutor for purposes of admission of guilt;
  • the defendant who is tried in absence must have a counsel as soon as the decision for trial in absence is brought.