Judicial Council: The high courts lack as many as 49 judges

Judicial Council / Photo: "Free Press" - Dragan Mitreski

Today, the Judicial Council elected six new judges in the second announcement, three each for the Criminal and Civil Courts in Skopje, which, together with the judges elected two months ago from the first announcement, number a total of 30 newly elected judges for several courts throughout the country from among the graduates of the Academy for judges and public prosecutors, but this number is not enough for optimal and efficient operation of the courts. At the session of the Judicial Council, the members reviewed the analysis of the necessary judicial positions in the Supreme Court, the High Administrative Court and the appeal courts of Skopje, Bitola, Gostivar and Shtip, from which it emerged that there is a shortage of judges in all high courts, sometimes more and sometimes less. it is necessary to fill the foreseen positions in order to ensure their regular, efficient and up-to-date operation.

The president of the commission that made the analysis, Vesna Dameva, emphasized that according to the parameters they considered, it was established that in some high courts more judges are needed than what was previously concluded by the systematization made by the Judicial Council and that before the Council it is a difficult task to fill them the foreseen judicial positions, because, at the same time, there is a lack of judges in the basic courts throughout Macedonia, most of which have extended competences. Calculated in aggregate, these six high courts are missing a total of 49 judges.

According to the analysis presented by Dameva in the Supreme Court, according to the systematization and according to the opinion of the Supreme Court itself, 28 judges are needed, and at the moment there are 16, one of whom is the president of the court, and one whose mandate is resting.

- The work of the Supreme Court is distributed in four departments, so the optimal number of judges for the Supreme Court is 26, that is, it would be five judges for each department and in addition five more judges, as well as one who will be a member of the Judicial Council - Dameva said.

In the Higher Administrative Court, according to the systematization, 13 judges are foreseen, and eight judges work, with the president being a judge in the Administrative Court, not in the Higher Administrative Court. According to the analysis, the optimal number of judges in the High Administrative Court is 12, that is, three for each judicial council that functions within this court.

For the Skopje Appeal, it was emphasized that according to the systematization, 52 judges are foreseen, and currently only 30 judges are working there, two of whom are suspended because they are judges in the Constitutional Court. According to the analysis of the Judicial Council, however, for the optimal work of the Skopje Appeal, 66 judges are needed, 13 judges for each foreseen department - criminal, civil, commercial, the department for labor disputes and the department for judicial practice.

– This court is the only one that decides in appeal proceedings in cases of organized crime and corruption and covers an appellate area with courts with a large volume of work. The number of judges cannot be reduced, and how quickly they will be filled is another question - emphasizes Dameva.

For the Gostivar Appellate Court, she said that according to the systematization, 16 judge positions have been created, and 14 positions have been filled, of which one judge is the president of the court, and one is a member of the Judicial Council. Three specialized departments work in this court, so according to the analysis, a total of 15 judges are needed, five for each department.

In the Bitola Appeal, after systematization, 25 judge posts are planned, and only 13 are working, one of whom is the president of the court, and the other one has his post in the Appeal, because he is the president of the Ohrid Basic Court. According to the analysis in the Bitola appeal, where the work is divided into three departments, criminal, civil and judicial practice, 20 judges are needed.

In the Stip Appeal, the systematization provided for 16 places, but only eight judges are working. The work is divided into two departments, civil and criminal, and according to the analysis, 12 judges are needed for the optimal work of this court.

Dameva emphasized that this analysis did not take into account the number of judges who will soon meet the conditions for retirement.

The member of the Judicial Council, Ivica Nikolovski, said that in all courts there is a smaller number of judges than necessary, which affects the work.

- Long procedures are conducted, we have trials within an unreasonable period of time, the courts are inefficient and unhurried in their work, but it should also be emphasized that it is not only the number of judges that guarantees an optimal result, because many procedures depend on other stakeholders. We, as the Judicial Council, need to find a way to fill the vacant positions, and then analyze the results the courts will have. However, care should also be taken in the basic courts, if we fill the high courts with older and more experienced personnel, there is a danger that only young judges will remain in the basic courts - Nikolovski said.

At yesterday's session The Judicial Council chose Liljana Milanova, Vlatko Sekovski and Nadica Mitreska as judges in the Basic Criminal Court, and Irena Mitreska, Vlatko Sekovski and Sanja Tomic Velkovski for judges in The basic civil court Skopje. All newly elected judges are graduates of the Academy of Judges and Prosecutors who were not selected in the first announcement and a second announcement was made for them and with their choice all completed academics from the last generation of academics are elected as judges. In the second announcement, apart from the Skopje courts, judges were also wanted for the primary courts in Berovo, Delchevo, Kichevo, Krusevo, Kumanovo and Sveti Nikole, but not a single candidate applied for these positions.

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