Regional cooperation for the support of victims and witnesses in criminal acts

UNDP North Macedonia hosted a two-day Regional Experience Sharing Conference of Judicial Victim and Witness Support Services

October 27, 2023


More than 40 professionals and practitioners from the justice sector and social services from the region, in the past two days, exchanged experiences and discussed how to improve the support of victims and witnesses, and the work with victims of crimes, including victims of sexual violence. The conference, which was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the support of the European Union, was attended by victim support officers and witnesses from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[1], North Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, joined by representatives from Croatia as observers.

"The primary goal of this conference is to enhance mutual experience sharing, communication, and cooperation, and expand the community of practitioners dedicated to the victim and witness support services. It is our collective responsibility to address these consequences, seek solutions, and work towards sustainable peace and prosperity of the Western Balkans", said Sanja Bojanic, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative.


By the Ministry of Justice, it was noted that in the past period the activities for drafting new legal solutions in the criminal-legal area have been intensified, and at the same time, amendments to the Law on Criminal Procedure and the introduction of a new Criminal Code are underway.

"Taking into account the fact that the Law on Criminal Procedure is a kind of constitution of human rights, we directed our activities in this area to aligning the law with the latest international standards in criminal procedural law, and especially the latest directives of the European Union in this area," said Muhamed Tochi, State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice.


The conference was held within the framework of the project "EU support for Confidence Building in the Western Balkans", which is financially supported by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP. The main goals of the project are to address some of the consequences of armed conflicts in the region, to strengthen the rule of law and social resilience and cohesion, and to support progress towards the European Union and sustainable peace in the region.

[1] For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UNDP, all references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of the Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).