The Association for European Integration and Human Rights was founded on 18.03.1998 in Plovdiv by lawyer Mihail Ekimdjiev and lawyer Dimitar Roussev.
This is an association of practising jurists united by the idea to exercise law in the public interest and establish human rights as one of the fundamental values of civil society in Bulgaria.
More than 20 practising jurists who have specialized in various fields of law are involved as experts in the Association's activities. In addition to practising lawyers, the Association's educational projects also involve judges from the Plovdiv District Court and law interns specializing at the Association. To this day, the Association has implemented successfully five human rights projects funded by the Open Society Foundation, the Council of Europe, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees – Bulgaria . The main partners in the implementation of these projects have been Interights – London, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the Supreme Barristers' Council, and the Council of the College of Barristers in Plovdiv. So far, approximately 150 applications on behalf of Bulgarian citizens have been submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg with the financial and methodological support of the Association. These applications have been related to acute human rights problems arising from the discrepancies between domestic legislation and jurisprudence and European human rights standards. Some of the earliest judgments ruled by the European Court of Human Rights on Bulgarian cases (Ivanka Nikolova v. Bulgaria, Petar Ilijkov v. Bulgaria, Bogdana Dimova v. Bulgaria, Borislav Nikolov v. Bulgaria, Krassimir Shishkov v. Bulgaria, and others) were based on the applications submitted by the Association's experts. It is worth pointing out the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court in the case of Ivanka Nikolova v. Bulgaria, which has been of great importance. Along with the judgment in the case of Assenov v. Bulgaria, it revealed some fundamental discrepancies between the criminal procedure institutes of ‘detention on remand' and the provisions of Article 5 of the European Convention and brought about the most radical reform in Bulgarian criminal procedure in recent years.
The experts of the Association for European Integration and Human Rights also conduct a large number of cases under the State Responsibility for Damages Inflicted on Citizens Act, which constitute precedents for the conditions and court practice in Bulgaria and lead to the establishment of an attitude of respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as to positive changes in the professional stereotypes and attitudes of justice-administering bodies towards the rights and dignity of citizens.