Today, Ambassador Byrnes visited Skopje Basic Criminal Court to mark the start of the use of the U.S. Embassy’s donated audio equipment for recording trials in all 25 courtrooms. “This is an important and concrete step as part of the broader overall effort to strengthen rule of law here. This kind of recording equipment does many things: it increases accountability and transparency; it improves the public trust in the institutions and increased efficiency,” said Ambassador Byrnes after observing a trial and witnessing the use of the equipment. You can read Ambassadors remarks to the press below:
Ambassador Byrnes: “Thank you all for being here. This is my first visit to the Skopje Basic Criminal Court and I am delighted to be here and thank Chief Judge Ivan Djolev for inviting me to be here to witness the donation and the use of audio recording equipment in all of the courtrooms here. 25 courtrooms.
I had the opportunity this morning to observe a trial and to see in practice how this equipment has helped make the process more efficient and more transparent. Trial I observed was efficient. The proceedings went without interruptions and delay.
I think this is an important and concrete step as part of the broader overall effort to strengthen rule of law here. This kind of recording equipment does many things: it increases accountability and transparency; it improves the public trust in the institutions as well as the efficiency. Judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys can focus on what they are hearing and saying and not on taking notes. There is a record. It increases fairness for citizens and above all it increases accuracy. So further in the court process there is record that is focused and accurate and can be made available to all the citizens.
I think it is very important this kind of a program takes place and we are very pleased to sponsor it.
We are also very grateful to the Chief Judge for all of his cooperation and his efforts to bring openness and efficiency to the system here. We could not have a better partner in our efforts to support North Macedonia. And again, we are ready and willing to look at ways to partner to make real concrete changes that make a difference. So thank you again Chief Judge.”