Ambassador Jess Baily on U.S. Support for the Rule of Law in Macedonia

Ambassador Baily rejected the allegations that the US destabilize Macedonia.

We in the U.S. Embassy in Skopje often see stories in the media about conspiracy theories and allegations of American interference in Macedonia’s domestic affairs or actions to destabilize the country. We believe most citizens of Macedonia, like us, recognize the absurdity of these stories. However, after several recent assertions about our staff and programs, let me set the record straight, particularly about our support for the rule of law.

We are very open about our programs and engagement. In the past 15 years, the U.S. Government has contributed more than $55 million to develop the capacity of Macedonia’s courts, judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and police to fulfill their mandates professionally, transparently, efficiently, and with credibility. More than 600 judges, 300 public prosecutors, 150 defense lawyers, and over 2,000 law enforcement officers have benefited from these efforts.

Macedonia’s current political crisis raised allegations of abuse of authority and possible criminal behavior, combined with allegations of executive interference in judicial and prosecutorial matters. In response, the leaders of Macedonia’s four largest political parties agreed, and Parliament unanimously voted, to create a new independent institution - the Office of the Special Prosecutor (SPO). Whether the SPO is successful in conducting unhindered, non-partisan, and professional investigations with full support from all institutions is a real test for the rule of law in this country.

Given its critical role in establishing legal accountability, the United States is supporting the SPO with training and assistance, just as we have assisted Macedonia’s court system, Public Prosecutor, and police since Macedonia’s independence. This engagement reflects our deep commitment to the rule of law and to helping the people of Macedonia resolve the current crisis, develop strong democratic institutions, and move forward toward membership in the European Union and NATO. That commitment remains firm.

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