The latest amendments in the Criminal law

In line with the harmonization of the positive legal regulations with the latest international standards, the Protocol of the United Nations and the Directives of the European union in the Official Gazette of the Republic North Macedonia no. 36 from 17.02.2023, the changes and additions to the Criminal law which entered into force on 25.02.2023, were published.

The adopted amendments increase the efficiency of the application of the confiscation measure through full compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the Court in Strasbourg.

Special emphasizes are the newly adopted criminal offenses, i.e., “torture” and “harassment in the performance of the service” and their non-obsolete nature as a result of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

With the adopted amendments and additions to the Criminal Law, a new criminal offense “Stalking” is prescribed. Namely, the person who repeatedly follows, without authorization, pursues or otherwise interferes in the personal life of another, or establishes or tries to establish unwanted contact with him by moving in the space where that person is located, as well as by using means for public information and other means of communication or otherwise psychologically abuses, harasses or intimidates him and thereby will caused a feeling of insecurity, anxiety or fear for his safety or the safety of a person close to him will be punished with a fine or imprisonment for up to three years. If the criminal offense is committed against a person with whom the perpetrator is or was in an intimate relationship or against a child, by virtue of the amendments, a prison sentence of six months to five years is prescribed.

It is significant to mention that with the amendments of the Criminal law, Article 123 provides for a new qualified form of the criminal offense of murdering a journalist or other media worker. Namely, any person who takes the life of a journalist or other media worker or another person who performs work of public interest while performing professional tasks will be sentenced to ten years in prison or life imprisonment.

The amendments also cover the harmonization of the European Union Directive 2017/1371 on combating fraud in relation to the financial interests of the Union, in the criminal offense “Customs fraud” а new ways of committing the criminal offense are foreseen and in the criminal offense “Tax evasion” the framework of the prescribed punishment has been changed in relation to the qualified form and method of execution of the criminal offense.

The other amendments and additions to the Criminal law are related to the implementation of the provisions of the Istanbul Convention, so a new definition of domestic violence is given, the existing definition of “victim of a criminal offense” is added and gender-based violence against women is defined.

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