Eu Criminal Lawand Persons With Disabilities: Reflections On "Vulnerability" And The Influence Of The Crpd

L. Waddington*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay examines how EU criminal law, which regulates certain aspects of criminal procedural law of the twenty-seven EU member states, addresses the situation of persons with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system. EU law on victims and on suspects and accused persons (partially) addresses disability through the prism of "vulnerability." This essay argues that associating persons with disabilities with "vulnerability" can be stigmatizing. Moreover, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which requires that persons with disabilities have effective access to justice and receive appropriate accommodations, does not link these rights to a prior recognition of "vulnerability." Even though the EU is a party to the CRPD, the 2013 Recommendation from the European Commission on Procedural Safeguards for Vulnerable Persons Suspected or Accused in Criminal Proceedings, frames disability in terms of "vulnerability." In contrast, parts of the EU Victims' Rights Directive address the situation of individuals with disabilities without using the language of vulnerability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalAJIL Unbound
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2022

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