Our Mission and Priorities


Both in the EU Member States and in other countries all over the world, civil and criminal justice systems face immense challenges in providing equal protection under the law, access to a fair legal process, adequate legal representation and information about legal rights and opportunities.

DAD objectives are to provide an enhanced institutional and policy capacity for a successful European integration process, especially in the area of justice and home affairs; to promote, support and monitor institutional reform to improve the transparency, fairness, accountability and efficiency of judicial systems by strengthening the rule of law and advancing human rights for all. Our aim is to foster policy development through interdisciplinary dialogue and partnership between public institutions, academia and social actors on key issues that will shape the future legal landscape.

We focus on developing innovative pathways to improve the quality of justice for vulnerable or marginalised groups, strengthening the voices of reform-minded prosecutors, and promoting greater understanding of the civil and criminal systems. We encourage collaboration among key justice stakeholders and support projects and organizations, promoting access to justice, human rights and the rule of law through legal and policy advocacy, empirical research and education, and piloting of effective practices.


Suspects and Accused in the EU




Around nine million people are the subject of criminal justice proceedings every year in the EU. At the same time, a significant share of those suspected or accused of criminal offences are not found guilty and are never convicted.

Despite the obligation of criminal justice authorities to strictly observe the presumption of innocence, suspects and accused are always subject to certain restrictions and consequences during the criminal proceedings, most of which affect their personal and social sphere. All of these restrictions have their legitimate purposes: some are aimed to facilitate the investigation (seizure of objects to serve as evidence), some prevent absconding or re-offending (remand measures), some protect the victims (restraining order). Information about the criminal proceedings is also often publicly released or shared with the media, which further affects the lives of suspects and accused. These measures and restrictions can have certain negative consequences for suspects and accused: loss of job or income, additional expenses, loss of social benefits, worsened relations with family and community, etc.

Against this backdrop, the ARISA Project, implemented together with the Center for the Study of Democracy – Bulgaria, The Center for European Constitutional Law – Greece, and Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII – Italy, aims atenhancing the observance of the presumption of innocence by :

1. identifying the factors affecting the social status of suspects and accused during the proceedings.

2. analysing and describing their impact, including the effects of disclosing information about the proceedings to other people or to the media.

3. providing judicial and law enforcement authorities with a methodology for assessing the risk of de-socialisation of suspects and accused, as well as with practical guidelines on how to address this risk at the earliest possible stage of proceedings without compromising the effective investigation.

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