*

upload_article_image

North Macedonia: Thousands rally to back judicial reforms

Thousands of people attended a march in North Macedonia's capital Monday in support of landmark judicial reforms approved just before parliament was dissolved for early elections.

The "Walk for Justice" rally, held in Skopje a day after the reforms were approved, was organized by the outgoing Social Democrat government.

The new law was a key condition in the country's bid to join the European Union. It will hand back control of major cases of corruption and organized crime to the public prosecution office.

People waving national and EU flags gather for a rally, titled "Walking for Justice," organized by the ruling Social Democrats, starting outside the parliament building and ending in front of the complex of national courts, in Skopje, North Macedonia, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Some thousands supporters of the ruling Social Democrats marched peacefully in the capital Skopje late on Monday in support of a new law on public prosecution and demanded national courts be more vigorous in deciding cases related to corruption allegations of the former conservative government members.(AP PhotoBoris Grdanoski)

Before, such cases were handled by a special prosecutor's office, which became mired in controversy and was the subject of bitter rivalry between the Social Democrats and the main opposition conservatives. That office was dismantled last year.

“Our people are eager for justice," said Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev, who stepped down as prime minister last month in preparation for the elections. "Honorable judges, it is now up to you to deliver justice."

The parliamentary election is due to be held in April.

People waving national and EU flags gather for a rally, titled "Walking for Justice," organized by the ruling Social Democrats, starting outside the parliament building and ending in front of the complex of national courts, in Skopje, North Macedonia, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Thousands supporters of the ruling Social Democrats marched peacefully in the capital Skopje late on Monday in support of a new law on public prosecution and demanded national courts be more vigorous in deciding cases related to corruption allegations of the former conservative government members.(AP PhotoBoris Grdanoski)

People take a part in a rally, titled "Walking for Justice," organized by the ruling Social Democrats, starting outside the parliament building and ending in front of the complex of national courts, in Skopje, North Macedonia, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Thousands supporters of the ruling Social Democrats marched peacefully in the capital Skopje late on Monday in support of a new law on public prosecution and demanded national courts be more vigorous in deciding cases related to corruption allegations of the former conservative government members.(AP PhotoBoris Grdanoski)