VIA IURIS is one of the oldest civil society organizations in Slovakia. Established in 1993 under the name Center for Environmental Public Advocacy, its original objective was to support a wide range of civic initiatives and organizations which fought for fairness and to give a voice to citizens in state decision-making processes and in key matters of public interest on the local level.
Since its foundation in 1993, VIA IURIS’s mission is to make Slovakia a country where people are not powerless against the powerful, and where under the law, we are all equal. Within its mission, VIA IURIS promotes rule of law, supports civil society and defends civic rights. The organization’s approach is to use the law as an instrument of justice. VIA IURIS brings systemic solutions and promotes the equal application of law for all within all its above-mentioned programs.
They are experts in using legal and campaigning tools to enhance the public interest. They prepare and promote changes to legislation, elaborate analyses, and provide consultations and legal representation in strategic cases. They organize legal conferences and present theirr thoughts and ideas to the general public.
The organization works in three programmatic areas, each led by a topic leader:
Citizen: VIA IURIS promotes effective public participation in decision and policy making. The citizens have to be able to participate effectively in various permission procedures that affect their lives. They ought to have access to information and access to justice in matters of public interest, such as environmental protection and the accountability of state institutions and municipalities. VIA IURIS supports and provides assistance to people who are threatened while advocating the public interest.
Civil Society: Authentic civil society, as one of the cornerstones of freedom and democracy, is being jeopardized by non-systemic legislative proposals, populist statements of politicians and disinformation campaigns led by conspiracy-promoting media. VIA IURIS critically analyzes civil society and protects the legislative environment so that Slovak citizens now and in the future have the right to freely express themselves and to associate with and actively participate in, and control, the administration of public affairs.
Rule of Law: VIA IURIS promotes systemic measures to strengthen the independence and accountability of key institutions of the rule of law (courts, public prosecution, etc.) and eliminate political influence on them. These institutions are the fundamental elements of democracy and crucial in securing equality before the law and enforcing the justice. They ought to guarantee the exercise of public power by elected officials in compliance with the public interest, not the private interests of oligarchs. They have to guarantee that everyone is held accountable for overstepping the law, even politicians.
VIA IURIS is a member of the European network Justice & Environment, the Slovak Fundraising Centre, the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and a fresh associate member of CIVICUS. Moreover, the organization is one of the founder members of the Slovak CSOs coalition The Voice of Civic Organizations.