Intelligence and Security Sector Reform

At the core of this project is to improve the accountability of the state and enhance the division of the executive, legislative and judiciary powers in line with the democratic governance priorities of the Swiss Cooperation Programme in North Macedonia. It focuses on supporting the intelligence and security sector actors to become more transparent and accountable towards parliament, the judiciary and citizens at large, through new and improved existing legal framework, enhanced policy-making and capacity building.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
North Macedonia
Conflict & fragility
Legal and judicial development
Security system management and reform
01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026
CHF  1’000’000
Background North Macedonia has long been struggling with insufficient accountability and transparency of the state institutions. This has been also the case with the intelligence and the security sector. Current efforts to reform the intelligence and security services commenced after the so-called wire-tapping scandal from 2015 when it became public knowledge that over 20’000 citizens and politicians were illegally wire tapped for political gain. The European Commission defined interception of communications, judiciary and prosecution services, and external oversight bodies as three main areas where urgent action was most needed.1 Against this backdrop, in 2017 the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) was asked by the national authorities to design and implement a three-year Intelligence Sector Reform Programme cofounded by the Netherlands, Sweden, UK and Switzerland. Although significant results have been achieved so far, sustaining institutional and policy achievements requires further efforts to amend existing and develop new intelligence oversight legislation and rules of procedure and to further build implementation capacities.
Objectives Intelligence and security services in North Macedonia function effectively under active democratic control and oversight.
Target groups
  • Security and Intelligence Services
  • Operational Technical Agency
  • Directorate for Security of Classified Information
  • Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors
  • Parliament
  • Civil Society
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: The legal and institutional framework of the intelligence and security sector is aligned with relevant Euro-Atlantic principles and good practice and respect of human rights.

Outcome 2: External oversight bodies (parliamentary committees, Council for Civilian Supervision, judiciary) conduct effective and transparent oversight and control over intelligence sector activities.

Outcome 3: Increased trust of the citizens in the security institutions


Expected results:  

  • Oversight communication strategies and procedures are developed.
  • Recommendations submitted to Parliament and Government on drafts and amendments to relevant intelligence sector legislation.
  • Judicial authorization of communication interception is optimized.
  • External oversight and control bodies have improved knowledge and capacity to conduct effective and transparent oversight.
  • Citizens are better informed and actively participate in oversight procedures.

Results from previous phases:   Significant results have been achieved through the adoption of new legislation and establishment of new institutional structures. Still further improvement is needed because: a) MPs need further capacity building to conduct security and intelligence sector oversight; b) Legal framework needs improvement to ensure adequate operation of the security and intelligence sector; c) The judiciary needs further training for appropriate use of special investigative measures; d) Citizens need to be better informed about the competencies of the authorities regarding security and intelligence related practices.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
  • Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces

Other partners
Coordination with other projects and actors

-    Swiss funded Parliament Support Project

-    Embassy of United Kingdom

-    Embassy of Sweden / SIDA

-    Embassy of The Netherlands

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    900’000 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   2’434’365
Project phases Phase 1 01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026   (Current phase)