US Ambassador Byrnes: Only 8% of citizens trust the Macedonian judiciary

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US Ambassador to Skopje Kate Byrnes told a conference of judges Thursday that Macedonian citizens do not trust the judiciary. Referring to a recent Eurothink poll that only 8% of citizens trust the judiciary, the ambassador said it was necessary to restore citizens’ trust to see the system work.

“It is no secret that the public does not believe in the judiciary. In fact, a recent Eurothink poll found that only 8% of Macedonian citizens trust the judiciary and the prosecution. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done, including judicial reform and strengthening of institutions, but perceptions also need to be addressed – people need to see and feel that the system works. Citizens must be assured that their cases will be heard by neutral and independent courts within a reasonable time. This is a basic principle in any free and functional democracy, Byrnes said at an international judicial conference in Skopje.

According to Byrnes, the judiciary must be efficient, independent and implement the law equally for all if it wants to restore the trust of the citizens.

“Restoring public confidence can only be achieved if all judges do more than what was expected of them when they were sworn in,” Byrnes said.

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