Legal Assistant, Public Prosecutor’s Office for Prosecuting Criminal Offences
Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia
Scholarship: Online Summer Course on Rule of Law (420SB11)
22 – 26 June 2020
“During those five days of lectures I felt truly determined and connected with the colleagues from different countries within the European Union. Even in the online form, the event was organized impeccably and I am looking forward to stay involved in the activities organized by ERA and to meet the ERA colleagues personally.”
- Q & A with Leposava Ognjanoska
What is your legal background, your current occupation and country of work?
At the time when I submitted my application and completed the summer course, I was employed at the Public Prosecutor's Office for prosecuting criminal offences related to and arising from the content of illegal interception of communications, also known as Special Public Prosecution/Special Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Republic of North Macedonia (SPO), where I was working as a Legal Assistant. But with the entry into force of a new law on the Public Prosecution in the Republic of North Macedonia on 30th of June this year, arguably one of the most important institutions in the recent history of this country - the Special Prosecutor’s Office, has ceased to exist.
How do you use European law in your current work?
Within the SPO, I was working on complex cases of organized crime and corruption that required knowledge of national and international legislation and jurisprudence, tackling specific issues as surveillance and interception of communications, asset recovery, money laundering, etc. These cases often have a cross-border dimension and depend upon mutual cooperation in criminal matters. Therefore, I have been also part of joint investigative teams that cooperated with EUROJUST. Also, while working on a case, I always take into consideration the European law standards regarding specific legal issues. As Project Coordinator/Researcher at the Coalition “All for Fair Trials”, my main project tasks are related to monitoring of court cases through the prism of the right to a fair trial guaranteed with the European Convention on Human Rights and developed in the case law of the European Court on Human Rights. Also, as an organization we are engaged in systemic monitoring of areas under the Chapter 23 of the Union’s Law – Judiciary, Fight against Organized Crime and Fundamental Rights and are preparing to participate in the accession negotiation process.
Moreover, European law is also my main field of academic research as I am pursing PhD studies in my field of special interest – law of the European Union and European integration at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” - Skopje, where I am engaged as a pro-bono Research and Teaching Assistant. My PhD thesis is directly connected with the topic of this Summer Course, as it covers the mechanisms for protecting the rule of law in the European Union as instruments for further integration.
One of my professors at the Faculty of Law "Iustinianus Primus"-Skopje passed the information about this scholarship programme on to me, as she believed that I am a suitable candidate and motivated me to apply. Beside my work as a legal practitioner in the field of criminal law, I am also working as pro-bono Research and teaching assistant (Demonstrator) at the Faculty.
What was your motivation for attending this particular event?
My main motivation to apply for a scholarship and attending the ERA Summer Course on the Rule of Law is more than evident. In this moment, Republic of North Macedonia is waiting for the historic opening of the accession negotiations and young lawyers equipped with knowledge on EU topic can have a tremendous contribution in that regard. Courses from this kind provided by Europe’s top experts in these fields can play a major role in opening the doors for further progress. Having in mind that I am a legal practitioner active in the legal areas that rule of law concept is consisted of, the knowledge and skills that I have acquired from the Course on Rule of Law are directly applicable in my professional activities, but also in my academic research work.
How did you benefit from the scholarship?
ERA’s Summer Course 2020 on the Rule of Law in the European Union has been such an opportunity to me. It has provided me with specific skills and knowledge, but also with fresh energy and enthusiasm for further professional development. During those five days of lectures I felt truly determined and connected with the colleagues from different countries within the European Union. Even in the online form, the event was organized impeccably and I am looking forward to stay involved in the activities organized by ERA and to meet the ERA colleagues personally.