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JUSTICE FOR ALL: Enhancing the Rights of Defendants and Detainees with Intellectual and/or Psychosocial Disabilities. EU Cross-Border Transfers, Detention and Alternatives

The JUSTICE FOR ALL project aims to improve the rights and conditions of defendants and detainees with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities.

Under the Stockholm Programme the EU provides a roadmap for the EU’s work in the area of freedom, security and justice. Among other issues, the Stockholm Programme calls on Member States to render the principle of mutual recognition in the area of detention more efficient. It also invites Member States to address the issue of alternatives to imprisonment.

While many relevant projects have addressed fundamental rights issues of the general prison population, there have been few initiatives on defendants and detainees with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. In particular, little attention has been paid to the specific challenges in cross-border cases. Yet, persons with disabilities may be disproportionately affected if necessary and appropriate adjustments are not made to accommodate and support the individuals.

For these reasons, the project will assess challenges, gaps and good practices regarding the implementation of relevant EU Framework Decisions (European Arrest Warrant; Transfer of Prisoners; Probation and Alternative Sanctions; European Supervision Order) for persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities.

Moreover, the project will also examine domestic practices that may stand in the way of cross-border cooperation. One issue concerns the preventive detention of persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities declared not criminally responsible or with diminished legal capacity in criminal proceedings and who may be deprived of their liberty for long periods of time including for life.



The project targets primarily:

  • Actors in criminal justice, i.e. the judiciary, lawyers, probation agencies;
  • Oversight monitoring bodies, i.e. the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPM) established under the OPCAT and national independent monitoring frameworks under the CRPD;
  • Decision-makers, e.g. national representatives of relevant ministries, parliamentarians, as well as representatives of EU institutions.



The overall objective of the project is, on the one hand, to raise awareness of the rights of defendants and detainees with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities and, on the other hand, to promote judicial cooperation and mutual recognition in criminal matters within the EU. The project will in particular:

  • Clarify, consolidate and increase knowledge on international, EU and national standards applicable to defendants and detainees with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities;
  • Facilitate cooperation and strengthen mutual learning and exchange between different stakeholders at the national and EU-wide level.

This is to be achieved specifically by conducting desk research, national and regional consultation processes, and producing a comparative report and key recommendations. We will present the results of the project, incl. the national reports and key recommendations.


Partner Organisations: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria), Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Germany), Antigone (Italy), Mental Health Perspectives (Lithuania), Peace Institute (Slovenia)

EU, especially Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Slovenia
Contact persons: 

Bernadette Fidler,

Lead Organisation: 
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights
Project start: 
Project end: 
Funded by: 
Co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union and the Federal Ministry of Justice of the Federal Republic of Austria
Human Dignity and Public Security
Ko-finanziert durch das Justizprogramm der Europäischen Union
Ko-finanziert durch das Bundesministerium für Justiz der Bundesrepublik Österreich