Strengthening access to justice

The development of a fair and efficient legal system is a major challenge in large parts of Europe. Access to justice that conforms to and takes into account international standards is far from universal. Trust in the judicial system is low in many countries. The use of the European Convention on Human Rights by local courts and reliance on case law of the European Court for Human Rights is limited in many countries.


The NHC has worked in a number of countries, most recently between 2006 and 2011 in the South Caucasus, on training and accompaniment of NGOs and lawyers to work with the European Human Rights Convention in national courts, and on the submission of complaints to the Court in Strasbourg. This should put judges and the political system under pressure to apply the Convention in a more systematic way. Improving the work of the judiciary has also been addressed in a number of countries by direct interaction with judges, such as in projects to strengthen independent professional associations of judges (most recently in Bulgaria, between 2008 and 2011).


Finished projects:


Practical Guide for Relatives of Disappeared Persons and NGOs - Using Law Against Enforced Disappearances


In 2015, the NHC co-authored a Practical Guide on the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. The publication explains advocacy options that have emerged for relatives of disappeared persons and NGOs working on disappearances by the creation of the monitoring committee of the International Covenant on Enforced Disappearances.


This guide provides additional information to the Practical Guide "Using Law Against Enforced Disappearances" that was issued in 2009 by the now defunct NGO Aim for Human Rights. The original Practical Guide is available here in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian: