Many suspects and accused persons have intellectual or psychosocial impairments that, if not identified on time, may affect their ability to effectively and fairly participate in the criminal proceedings. Unlike age and physical illness, which are easily recognised, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are not always visible and may remain unnoticed or misinterpreted. While some people may inform the criminal justice authorities of their disability, others may not be aware of their condition or try to hide it to avoid stigmatisation and intimidation.
On 15 December 2020, CSD hosted an international e-conference on the rights of people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in criminal proceedings. The event brought together EU-wide experts and practitioners in the area, who gave presentations on various aspects of the situation of suspects and accused with such impairments, presented some innovative tools aimed at helping first line practitioners to better communicate with such persons, and had a discussion on various relevant issues raised by the attendees.
A number of experts from several European countries presented the international legal framework of the rights of people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, examples from national criminal justice systems, good practices and valuable findings from previous studies in the area.