Criminal Justice ReformCriminal justice is the central element of any national system of human rights protection. Over recent years, many countries had to undertake an in-depth reform to bring their criminal justice system in line with Council of Europe standards. In addition, throughout Europe, criminal justice systems have faced new types of challenges: greater complexity of cases due to societal changes, the development of new technologies and the internationalisation of crime; budgetary constraints; increased workload and at the same growing expectations from the public.

Considering that a fair and efficient criminal justice system is a prerequisite for any democratic society based on the rule of law, the Council of Europe pays a lot of attention to legal and institutional reforms in the sphere of criminal justice.

The Council of Europe has developed a wide range of standards in this area (conventions, recommendations and opinions) and the Human Rights National Implementation Division provides support to member states to improve their implementation at the national level, on the basis of the findings of its monitoring bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights. This support takes the form of legislative expertise on Criminal Codes, Codes of Criminal Procedure, Laws on Prosecution etc., development of regulatory frameworks of prosecution services, support to the development of reform strategies and institutional capacity building for bar associations, prosecution offices and the judiciary.