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United Nations Children's Fund

International Child Development Centre

Florence - Italy
innocenti digest


International standards 2
Definitions and terminology 3
DISCUSSION SITE The rationale 4
Age of criminal responsibility 4
Nothing more than justice Status offences 6
Instrumental use of children for criminal activities 6


LINKS Are increasing numbers of juveniles committing offences? 6
Are increasingly serious crimes being committed by ever-younger children? 7



INFORMATION SOURCES Juvenile courts 10
Avoiding contact with the justice system 10
Selected readings Due process guarantees in extra-judicial solutions 12
General references
Separation from adults 13
CLIPBOARD Children in prison with their mothers 13
Material and other conditions of detention 14
Articles 37 and 40 of the Convention
Disciplinary measures 14
on the Rights of the Child
Past issues
Ordering information

The Innocenti Digest is compiled by UNICEF International Child Development Centre to provide reli-
able and easily accessed information on a critical childrens rights concern. It is designed as a working
tool for executive decision-makers, programme managers and other practitioners in child-related fields.
Main issues

This Digest focuses on the situation of Relevant international norms have United Nations Standard Minimum
children and young people under the existed for several decades. The 1955 Rules for the Administration of Juvenile
age of 18 who come into contact with Standard Minimum Rules for the Justice 1985 (Beijing Rules);
the justice system as a result of being Treatment of Prisoners themselves United Nations Rules for the
suspected or accused of committing an inspired by standards endorsed by the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of
offence. Its starting point is the League of Nations in 1934 already set their Liberty 1990 (JDLs);
moment of arrest. It goes through to out the principle of separation of young United Nations Guidelines for the
the time when a decision is made, prisoners from adults in custodial facilities Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
within or outside the formal justice and, for adults and juveniles alike, the sep- 1990 (Riyadh Guidelines).
system, on how they are dealt with, aration of accused and convicted Since its drafting largely overlapped
and looks at the implications of sen- detainees. The 1966 International with that of the three non-binding texts,
tencing options, with particular atten- Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the CRC not surprisingly reflects the
tion to those involving deprivation of (CCPR) reiterates these principles in the basic principles and enhances the force of
liberty. It also makes reference to the form of hard law, as well as prohibiting many standards contained in these rules
prevention of juvenile offending and the death penalty for persons found guilty and guidelines.
the social reintegration of offenders, as of a crime committed when they were At the moment of ratifying or acceding
well as to the special problem of chil- under the age of 18 (Art. 6.5). The CCPR to a treaty, States Parties may notify reser-
dren incarcerated with their mothers. also contains many safeguards applicable vations regarding any provisions by which
to all persons brought to trial and they are unwilling to be bound, provided
Concern over violation of childrens rights detained, and specifically states that [i]n that the content is not deemed to go
in these situations, throughout the world, the case of juvenile persons, the [court] against the basic spirit and purpose of the
is growing. Policy and practice relating to procedure shall be such as will take treaty and that the majority of other States
juvenile justice are among those areas most account of their age and the desirability of Parties make no objection to these reserva-
frequently criticized by the Committee on promoting their rehabilitation (Art. 14.4). tions. Several countries have registered
the Rights of the Child, the body respon- The main specifically child-focused
sible for monitoring the implementation of reservations in connection with Articles 37
norms currently regulating this field are and 40 of the CRC (see page 24 for full
the United Nations Convention on the contained in the:
Rights of the Child. text of articles).
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Committee has in fact made refer- Given the importance placed on juve-
1989 (CRC), which by end 1997 had nile justice by the international commu-
ence to problems in this sphere in rela- been ratified by all countries except
tion to some two thirds of the State nity, as evidenced by the scope and detail
Somalia and the United States of of the international instruments it has
reports it has reviewed so far. Juvenile jus- America;
tice, however, is not seen as a top priority adopted on the subject, it seems some-
in many countries, and its realities are what paradoxical that the rights, norms
often hidden or ignored. This Digest Binding and non-binding law and principles involved are regularly
attempts to highlight the main issues Binding, or hard law, comprises treaties ignored and seriously violated virtually
involved and to serve as one basis for (conventions, covenants) that carry throughout the world, on a scale that is
improved action. obligations for and only for those probably unmatched in the field of civil
States that officially notify their rights implementation.
agreement to be bound by them by The paradox is graphically illustrated
International standards ratifying or acceding to them. Non- in part in the United Nations General
In both binding and non-binding inter- binding, or soft law, constitutes all Assembly resolution adopting the Beijing
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

national law, juvenile justice and its other intergovernmental legal Rules, which itself states that although
instruments such as declarations, such standards may seem difficult to
associated fields (such as prevention of
guidelines and rules that are achieve at present, in view of existing
delinquency and conditions of deten-
approved in an international forum such
tion) are the subject of provisions whose social, economic, cultural, political and
as the United Nations General Assembly
comprehensive and detailed nature has legal conditions, they are nevertheless
but that carry no formal obligations
no equal in the overall field of childrens regarding their implementation.
intended to be attainable as a policy min-
2 rights. imum. 83 The comparable resolution
Main issues

Reservations to juvenile justice provisions in the CRC

secure respect for the relevant standards.
The main international instruments
Article 37: the main issue subject to reservations in this provision concerns point (c), themselves contain some surprising and
non-recognition of systematic separation of detained children from adults. While not unfortunate choices of terminology. The
contesting the principle itself, Australia, Canada, the Cook Islands, Iceland, New Zealand, Riyadh Guidelines, while warning
Switzerland and the UK maintain that there are situations where separation is not feasible
(lack of facilities) or is inappropriate (e.g. it would involve distancing the child unduly
strongly against the use of the word
from his or her family). Japan noted that it effects separation as of the age of 20. In delinquent to describe a young person,
reference to point (a), the obligation to prohibit cruel or degrading treatment and talk frequently not just in their title
punishment, Singapore retained the right to make judicious use of corporal of delinquency in describing the collec-
punishment and to take any measures (of imprisonment) that may be required for tive phenomenon of young persons acts.
national security and public order. More generally, the Netherlands specified that penal The drafters of the Beijing Rules chose to
law can be applied to children as of the age of 16 in some cases. use the words juvenile offender. At the
Article 40: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands, same time, and albeit only for the pur-
Switzerland and Tunisia all set limits on cases that could be subject to higher judicial poses of reading the Rules themselves,
review, and the Republic of Korea declared that it would not be bound by this provision they included within the meaning of that
(2.b.v). Germany and the Netherlands further noted that minor offences could be tried
without legal assistance (2.b.iii).
term a child or young person who is
In relation to both Articles 37 and 40, Malaysia stated that it accepted the resulting
obligations only inasmuch as they are in conformity with the countrys Constitution,
national laws and national policy. Several countries under Islamic law made general Definitions: child and juvenile
reservations, applying to the CRC as a whole, on the lines of that notified by Saudi Arabia Whereas the CRC covers all individuals
with respect to all such articles as are in conflict with the provisions of Islamic law. below the age of 18 years, unless under
the law applicable to the child, majority
adopting the JDLs, in contrast, states States Parties only to the maximum is attained earlier (Art. 1), and uses the
bluntly that the General Assembly is extent of their available resources. generic term children to describe
This said, it would be wrong to believe them, the JDLs mention no qualification
alarmed at the conditions and circum-
to the 18 years threshold and, as their
stances under which juveniles are being that compliance with juvenile justice stan-
title suggests, refer to those concerned
deprived of their liberty worldwide.84 Both dards is only a question of policy, not of as juveniles. In contrast, and while
resolutions, nonetheless, go on to urge resource allocation, simply because they again employing the term juvenile in
Member States to allocate the necessary are grounded in civil rights. Prohibition of defining their target group, the (pre-
resources to ensure the successful imple- the death penalty for juveniles clearly CRC) Beijing Rules do not set a fixed age
mentation of each set of Rules. requires little or nothing more than a sim- but state that, for the purposes of that
Some juvenile justice standards ple decision, with relatively minor finan- instrument, [a] juvenile is a child or
cial implications. Setting up a national net- young person who, under the respective
among those governing deprivation of
work of full-fledged juvenile courts from legal systems, may be dealt with for an
liberty in particular are reaffirmations offence in a manner which is different
of economic, social and cultural rights: zero, on the other hand, involves the com-
from an adult (Rule 2.2.a).
adequate food and clothing, access to mitment of resources no less significant
The Riyadh Guidelines also contain no
medical care and education, for example. than might be needed for meeting certain explicit definition, but mention that their
These rights are to be fulfilled without obligations under economic, social or cul- interpretation and implementation
discrimination, whatever the situation of tural rights. This is not an excuse for non- should be within the broad framework
the child involved. The State clearly compliance, of course; it constitutes a of, among other instruments, the CRC
bears a very direct responsibility for this CRC-founded injunction to find and com- and the Beijing Rules. As far as age is
mit those resources. concerned, this suggests the application
where it is acting in loco parentis, as is the of whichever is the higher standard of
case for detained children. these the CRCs under 18 in most
But the special norms the majority cases, no doubt, but the open-ended
in the overall sphere of juvenile justice Definitions and terminology Beijing definition for those countries
are inspired by civil rights, and indeed Definitions and terminology are particu- where persons of 18 or older may still be
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

derive directly from the CCPR. larly important in this sphere. First, the tried by a non-adult court. Despite their
Compliance with them cannot therefore international instruments are not consis- title, the Guidelines make use more
especially of the terms children and
be considered as subject to the qualifica- tent in this respect, and it is necessary to
young persons, often in tandem,
tion made in Article 4 of the CRC con- determine exactly whom they cover in moreover; they employ juvenile only
cerning the implementation of eco- order to use them appropriately. Second, as an adjective, as in juvenile justice
nomic, social and cultural rights, mea- many terms have negative connotations, system or juvenile delinquency.
sures for which are to be undertaken by and their use is to be avoided in efforts to 3
Main issues

any reaction to juvenile offenders shall give special importance to constructive

alleged to have committed... an offence,
always be in proportion to the circum- community-based solutions.
thereby seeming to break the sacrosanct
rule of presumption of innocence, as well stances of both the offenders and the
as that of avoiding labelling and stigmati- offence which, as stated in the
Commentary to Rule 5, is similarly Age of criminal
zation, in stark contrast to the tenor of responsibility
the principles in the text. designed to curb undue recourse to such
punitive sanctions. There is no clear international standard
The Beijing Rules also encourage the regarding the age at which criminal
The rationale use of a practice known as diversion (Rule responsibility can be reasonably imputed
11), which is steadily gaining favour in to a juvenile. The CRC simply enjoins
There is no strict and clear-cut dividing
many countries. Diversion signifies the States Parties to establish a minimum age
line between the philosophies and
avoidance of recourse to the courts below which children shall be presumed
approaches underlying a general justice
and therefore contact with the formal jus- not to have the capacity to infringe the
system and that to be applied to juve-
tice system for young people commit- penal law (Art. 40.3.a). The Beijing Rules
niles. The difference lies more especially ting all but the most serious offences, at
in emphasis, in particular between the add to this the principle that the begin-
least when apprehended for the first time. ning of that age shall not be fixed at too
weight given respectively to punishment Another fundamental consideration is low an age level, bearing in mind the
and to securing the offenders social rein- set out in the Riyadh Guidelines: that facts of emotional, mental and intellectual
tegration. Thus, the CCPR contains no youthful behaviour or conduct that does maturity (Rule 4.1). This at least pro-
indications or obligations regarding sen- not conform to overall social norms and vides some guidance as to the grounds for
tencing for adults, whereas the CRC sets values is often part of the maturation and deciding the age: the findings of medical
out a number of restrictions (e.g. pro- growth process and tends to disappear and psycho-social research rather than
hibiting the death penalty and life impris- spontaneously in most individuals with tradition or public demand.
onment without possibility of release) the transition to adulthood (5.e). Indeed, It is surprisingly difficult to obtain clear
and requires (as do the Beijing Rules) that studies based on victim and self-reporting data on the minimum age applied in each
detention or imprisonment of a child... surveys consistently indicate that country. In particular, one age may hide
shall be used only as a measure of last between 70% and 80% of children have another: in other words, the official age of
resort and for the shortest appropriate committed at least one usually petty criminal responsibility may not be the
period of time (Art. 37.b). In its Article offence that very often has not been lowest age at which a child can be
40.4, the CRC also sets out a variety of reported or discovered. Response to such involved with the justice system because of
dispositions to be considered and which behaviour when discovered, however, is an offence. In France, for example, where
would effectively enable a custodial sen- necessary in the interests of both the the minimum age is 13, children between
tence to be avoided. community and the perpetrator. At the the ages of 10 and 12 can appear before a
These provisions stem from the same time, the form of that response must juvenile judge, who may, however, only
approach that the treatment of a child in reflect the fact that, in most cases, it in no impose educative and supervision mea-
conflict with the law should take account way represents societys last chance to try sures, such as probation, if the child is
of, among other things, the desirability to dissuade the young person from a life considered to be at risk. Alternatively, the
of promoting the childs reintegration and of increasingly serious crime. minimum age may be applicable to all
the childs assuming a constructive role in Juvenile justice is therefore not offences except serious crimes. Equally,
society (Art. 40.1). The reintegration founded contrary to a widespread mis- some countries with low minimum ages
aim is nonetheless not entirely absent conception on a lenient approach as have a system of steps whereby different
from the regime applicable to adults. The such but on responses to juvenile offend- measures are applicable for specified age
CCPR thus states that [t]he penitentiary ing that: groups. Thus, in Jordan where the mini-
system shall comprise treatment of pris- encourage a process of behavioural mum age is 7, offenders under 12 are in
oners the essential aim of which shall be change by helping the child or young principle only subject to supervision and
their reformation and social rehabilita- person to feel accountable for his or behaviour observation measures.
tion (Art. 10.3). her actions and understand their impact In some societies no lower limit has
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

The avoidance of merely punitive on others: been specified, making it in principle as

sanctions against juveniles is also implied foster integration rather than alien- of birth. Where a minimum age has been
in Rule 5 of the Beijing Rules, which states ation; set, the disparities from one country to
that [t]he juvenile justice system shall hence, avoid the involvement of the another are astounding.
emphasize the well-being of the juvenile. formal court system and, above all, to The Committee on the Rights of the
The Rule then introduces the principle of purely punitive responses such as depri- Child constantly refers, in its Concluding
4 proportionality and shall ensure that vation of liberty wherever possible, and Observations on State reports, to the
Main issues


7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 18

Australia: Australia: Ethiopia Australia: Canada Algeria Bulgaria Czech Rep. Argentina Belgium
Tasmania ACT Iraq most states Honduras Benin China Denmark Azerbaijan Colombia
Bangladesh Saint Kitts Philippines Fiji Jamaica Burkina Faso Croatia Egypt Belarus Costa Rica (17)
Barbados Sri Lanka Nepal Korea, Rep. Chad Germany Finland Bolivia Ecuador
Belize UK: Scotland N. Zealand Morocco France Hungary Iceland Chile Guatemala
Cyprus Nicaragua Uganda Guinea Italy Lao PDR Cuba Mexico
Ghana Sierra Leone Madagascar Japan Maldives El Salvador Panama
Hong Kong UK* Niger Libya Norway Indonesia Peru
Ireland Vanuatu Poland Mauritius Peru Mongolia Uruguay
Jordan Senegal Paraguay Sudan Micronesia
Kuwait Togo Romania Sweden Portugal
Lebanon Tunisia Russian Fed. Spain
Myanmar Rwanda Ukraine
Namibia Slovenia
Nigeria Viet Nam
Pakistan Yemen
Sudan Yugoslavia
& Tobago

Note: The ages quoted are those of normal application as given in State reports submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, or as interpreted from those reports. Only
those countries whose initial reports were submitted by early 1995 are included. In many cases, the ages given are subject to upward or downward derogation in special
circumstances, e.g. where discernment cannot be proven or where the act committed is particularly serious. The table is therefore more indicative than definitive.
* United Kingdom except Scotland

desirability of setting the highest possible perspective on the part of the authorities. in which, alone, those guarantees are safe-
minimum age. It has in particular criti- The lack of due process guarantees is guarded, in theory at least. Hearings and
cized countries where the age is set at 10 indeed the main concern arising from the decisions outside that system, including
or below. At the same time, the level at establishment of too high a minimum age. those by administrative bodies, are not
which this age is set is in no way an auto- For children under that age, it often means bound by the same rules and may, it is
matic indication of the way a child is the non-intervention of the justice system feared, easily take on an arbitrary nature.
dealt with after committing an offence.
Thus, in Scotland where the age is among Due process
the lowest (8 years), the progressive chil-
Due process is the recognized right of any person accused of an offence to benefit from a
drens hearing system in fact avoids con-
fair trial. Some of its elements come into play prior to the trial itself: the right to be
tact with the formal justice system for informed clearly of the exact charges being levelled; the right to be presumed innocent;
children under 16 and even many 16- the right not to be forced to confess or to give incriminating evidence; the right to legal
and 17-year-olds for all but the most assistance in preparing for trial; and the right to having the matter dealt with without
serious offences, and is solidly oriented delay. The trial itself cannot be deemed fair if any of these rights have previously been
towards non-custodial solutions. This violated, and they are indeed set out explicitly in Article 40 of the CRC as minimum
compares with Romania, for example, requirements.
where the minimum age is 14 and where The elements of a fair trial include the right to cross-examine witnesses and to present
a child of that age will be brought to ones own witnesses, with the burden of proof laying on the prosecution.
court for the same offence and possibly The special treatment to be afforded to children during trial stems from the right to be
sentenced to detention as a result; or with treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the childs sense of dignity and
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

Guatemala, with 18 as the minimum age, worth [...] and which takes into account the childs age... (Art. 40.1). The Beijing Rules
add that juvenile proceedings should be held in an atmosphere of understanding which
but where a long-term socio-educational
allows the child to participate [...] and express herself or himself freely (Rule 14.2). The
institutional placement may be ordered case is to be dealt with expeditiously, by a competent and impartial authority. Parents
for an offence committed by a child should normally be present, and the childs privacy is to be respected implying inter
under that age. In sum, the age at which alia that the proceedings are to be held in camera and the childs identity is not be
criminal responsibility is set may or may divulged by the authorities or the press.
not reflect a repressive or rehabilitative 5
Main issues

considered an offence and not penalized The most disturbing developments in

Status offences if committed by a young person. It is recent years are the fact that such activi-
In many countries, certain acts constitute interesting to see this stance taken in the ties are increasingly orchestrated by orga-
offences when committed by children but context of dispositions designed to pre- nized criminal groups and that they have
are not considered such when perpetrated vent offending, rather than in what might an ever-growing transnational dimension.
by adults. In other words, the conflict with be seen as a pure childrens rights text. Thus, in Russia, the number of adults
the law stems from the status of the charged with involving children in crimi-
offender as a child rather than from nal activity reportedly tripled between
the nature of the act itself. These status Instrumental use of children 1989 and 1994 to almost 21,000 cases. 78
offences usually concern situations where for criminal activities A 1992 study in Italy noted that Mafia
the child has run away from home, is con- Growing concern has been manifested in organizations were recruiting thousands
sidered to be out of control, and/or is indi- recent years over adults using children of children and young people to carry out
gent. Under a 1958 law in Bulgaria, chil- under the age of criminal responsibility to front-line criminal activities, including
dren aged 8 to 18 can be placed in Labour carry out criminal activities, in the knowl- drug distribution and carrying or hiding
Education Schools i.e. detention cen- edge that they cannot be prosecuted and firearms. 74 Pakistani children have been
tres by local non-judicial bodies, with- will usually be released immediately after arrested in Saudi Arabia for drug traffick-
out any due process safeguards, for acts as arrest. These activities may range from ing activities carried out on behalf of
minor as vagrancy or being uncontrol- robbery and housebreaking to the trans- adult gangs.77
lable.34 In Rwanda, legislation currently in portation or distribution of illicit drugs.
force (though expected to be repealed)
allows the police to arrest and take into
custody any vagrant child; since vagrancy
is not looked upon as a criminal offence,

moreover, the scope of this law covers all
children, regardless of whether or not they
have reached the minimum age of criminal
Street children are indeed particularly
vulnerable in this regard, and are often There is a general perception, sometimes quite dramatic. Many countries in
apprehended by the police on such correct and sometimes unjustified, that Central and Eastern Europe have seen a
grounds, on an individual ad hoc basis or juvenile offending rates are increasing con- sharp increase in some cases over
as part of a deliberate strategy that may stantly and significantly, and that ever more 100% in the first six years following
or may not be sanctioned by domestic serious and violent crimes are being com- the start of the transition (although
law. This practice has been documented mitted by ever-younger children. It often recorded levels are still far lower than in
worldwide, in countries as far apart as underlies, or is used to justify, initiatives in Western Europe). In Poland, it is
Bangladesh and Peru. In Kenya, [t]he the juvenile justice field whose purely reported that the number of juvenile
three most common legal bases for the repressive nature tends to go against inter- offenders almost tripled between 1984
detention of children in juvenile remand national standards and guidelines, and and 1995. 70 Similar trends have been
homes are: destitution and vagrancy which conveniently ignore the precepts of documented in Romania, Russia and
(1,800); beyond parental control (500); prevention. Such a perception therefore elsewhere in the region. This is attrib-
and found begging (480).32 needs to be examined more closely. uted largely to the sudden and often
Legislation specifically targeting juve- extreme economic precariousness in
niles in this way is increasingly contested which the majority of the population
as discriminatory and as unnecessarily Are increasing numbers quickly found itself when drastic mea-
criminalizing the acts and situations of juveniles committing sures were introduced to prepare for the
involved. The CRC avoids explicit men- offences? market economy, and to the anomie and
tion of the issue, although its provisions Answering this question is not a straight- rejection of authority that often charac-
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

clearly militate against the application of forward affair. The basis for national fig- terized the initial period of post-
repressive measures in such cases. The ures when indeed they exist varies Communism. The Government of the
non-binding Riyadh Guidelines, however, considerably. Meaningful international Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has
state without hesitation that legislation comparisons are usually, therefore, reported that the 4,000 criminal acts
should be enacted to ensure that any con- impossible to draw up. committed by juveniles in 1993 and
duct not considered an offence or not In some instances the rise in juvenile 1994 equalled the overall number of
6 penalized if committed by an adult is not offending is undisputed, and can be criminal acts in the six-year period
Main issues

before war broke out in the former State arrests of young persons over the 1985- force only in 1976, was in fact being
of Yugoslavia in 1990.80 1995 period, from over 300,000 to less drafted back in the early 1960s is
Similarly, Namibia experienced an than 200,000.68 one clear indication of this.
increase in juvenile offences once the Girls generally make up less and Concern is currently being expressed
restrictions of the apartheid system sometimes far less than 10% of juve- particularly in the industrialized coun-
particularly those limiting freedom of nile offenders, and because of this, their tries, it would seem over an apparent
movement were lifted upon indepen- situation is often virtually overlooked. increasing incidence of violent crimes by
dence in 1990. The pre-independence Very little information exists on factors children of ever-lower ages: the murder of
offending rate, however, appears to have specific to offending by girls. At the same a 13-year-old fellow pupil by a schoolgirl
been unusually low, and the number of time, it is known that girls are particularly in France in 1996; the rape of a German
offenders, including juveniles, is still rel- subject to coming into conflict with the tourist by a gang of juveniles in London
atively small.65 law essentially because they are victims, the same year; the killing of an 11-year-
In countries where there have been e.g. for prostitution and, in certain coun- old boy in Kobe, Japan, by a boy of 14 in
less obvious landmark events, the picture tries such as Pakistan, for having been May 1997; the now infamous murder of
is not so clear. The authorities of most raped. There appear to be small but two-year-old James Bulger by two boys
industrialized countries maintain that steady increases in the number of girl aged 10 in the north of England in 1993 59
the juvenile offending rate has been offenders in many countries.78 The need ... and even a six-year-old boy accused of
steadily growing over the past two or to respond appropriately to their situa- the attempted murder of a month-old
three decades, both in absolute terms tion is therefore likely to become all the baby in California in the spring of 1996.
and as a proportion of all offending. more pressing. This concern is fuelled by sustained media
There seems little doubt too that contin- reports of such cases, often accompanied
uing and sometimes extremely rapid by alarmist commentary of various kinds.
urbanization in Africa, Asia and Latin Are increasingly serious The fact that close media attention is
America has produced the relative depri- crimes being committed paid to cases of this nature should be seen
vation, isolation and marginalization by ever-younger children? more as an indication of their extreme
that contribute particularly to economi- It is nothing new for a juvenile to be rarity than of their growing incidence. A
cally motivated, non-violent offences convicted of the most serious crimes of study covering 80% of 10- to 13-year-
(invariably the great majority). The violence, such as murder and rape. The old children identified as persistent or
development of services, facilities and inclusion of the prohibition of capital serious offenders in New Zealand in
courts has not matched the evolving sit- punishment for crimes committed by 1994, for example, found that only 22%,
uation. Reports from Japan, on the other persons under the age of 18 in the i.e. 23 children, had in fact been con-
hand, indicate a 35% fall in police CCPR which, although entering into victed of a very serious or serious crime.43
The projection for the country as a whole
is therefore just 31 such children for a
The trouble with figures total population of 3.5 million.
Depending on whether data on reported crimes, arrests, charges, court appearances, Even so, Estonia reports that in just
convictions or sentences to custodial treatment are used, the picture obtained can be very 12 months (1992-1993) violent crimes
different. as a proportion of all crimes committed
Several external factors may have significant effects on year-to-year comparisons: by juveniles rose from 8% to 13%.67 In
differences in detection or reporting rates, for example, could account for much or all of, Poland, juveniles are also said to be
say, a 5% change in juvenile offending rates. becoming involved more frequently in
Figures in this sphere, as in others, are wide open to political manipulation. A
government wishing to demonstrate the success of its fight against crime may well find
such crimes in the 1984-1993 period,
a different set of data to publish from that of a government seeking to arouse a feeling of juvenile involvement in manslaughter
public insecurity in order to secure support for repressive measures. In addition to factors reportedly rose by 271%, assault by
mentioned above, choice of age group selected can affect perceived trends considerably, 330% and armed robbery by 189%. The
as can different definitions of serious and non-serious crimes and, of course, a disguised number of offenders under 13 was found
changeover from arrests to convictions, or vice versa, as the basis for figures from one to have risen by 78% from 1993 to
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

year to another. 1994.70 In contrast, official figures from

Overall rates also hide many important features: if stealing a bar of chocolate and
mugging a person in the street simply count as two cases, then an additional act of
the United States record a 13.3% fall in
stealing chocolate would seem to increase the offending rate by 50%, but this would the number of 5- to 14-year-olds com-
obviously give a very distorted picture of the reality of juvenile offending. mitting murder in 1996 compared with
Such are often the kind of statistics provided and on which, in particular, somewhat the previous year.
facile and alarmist assessments are based. It is also necessary to look beneath
the surface of certain atrocities allegedly 7
Main issues

committed by juveniles. One example is

Rwanda, surely the most extreme situa- Rwanda: Responding to the crime of crimes
tion in recent decades. Well over 1,000 of those arrested and incarcerated on suspicion of participation in the
On a general level, it is indeed the 1994 genocide in Rwanda were under 18 at the time of the massacres, including several
question of the response to those few hundred under 14, the age of criminal responsibility in that country. However, charges
juveniles convicted of the most serious against the vast majority will likely not concern direct participation in the killings acts
crimes that poses a far greater problem of genocide encompass any kind of involvement, including various forms of aiding and
than any perceived increase in their num- abetting. Over and above this, the pressure propaganda, threats, etc. on Hutu youth
bers. Except in crimes of passion, con- to take part in the atrocities was such as to qualify significantly the voluntary, deliberate
and premeditated nature of the acts. Charges have not been filed against the under-14
victed adult murderers will often face long group, and maximum sentences for juveniles aged 14-17 have been set lower than for
sometimes lifetime prison sen- adults. Not surprisingly, there has been considerable debate over what kind of sentence
tences, or the death penalty; or they will can be both appropriate to the circumstances and consistent with the authorities
be committed to an institution for the concern that there be no perception of impunity for acts of genocide. 79
criminally insane. There is, however, no
consensus on what response is most certain states of the USA and a handful of however, that there is no conclusive evi-
appropriate or effective when the perpe- other countries, through to treatment or dence to date on the success of treatment
trator is a juvenile, especially one close to confinement in secure accommodation for or punitive measures of any kind, unless it
or below the age of criminal responsibil- an initially unspecified time, or even to be that, not surprisingly perhaps, neither
ity. In practice, responses can range from treatment while remaining in the care of has so far demonstrated its efficacy.
nothing less than the death penalty in his or her family. It is generally admitted,

Of all phases of the juvenile justice proce- is mirrored in a study in Lahore, Pakistan, presence of large numbers of pre-trial
dure, it is on arrest and immediately there- which states that 39 out of 50 children young persons in Abidjans main prison as
after, while in police custody, that an detained in police custody for lengthy the result of the absence of clear addresses
accused juvenile is most likely to become periods reported having been subjected to in the citys sprawling suburbs and shanty
the victim of torture and other forms of harsh treatment or torture at the hands of towns from which most offenders appar-
cruel treatment. Girls are especially vul- the police. 51 In Bangladesh too, it is ently came. He maintained that, conse-
nerable to sexual harassment and abuse on alleged that [s]ome of the worst viola- quently, if the police returned the children
arrest and during interrogation. It is also at tions of human rights committed against to their homes, they would never find
this stage that the juvenile is likely to be children take place... when the children them again.
denied the presence of those parents, are in the custody of the police... One boy In a different vein, legislation in ex-
social worker, legal representative who said that he was held for 15 days during Zaire allows the judge, during the investi-
might best provide protection against which he was beaten and tortured with gatory period, to order a juvenile to be
such acts. electric shocks until he admitted his remanded in a prison for up to two
In January 1996, in Menisa, Turkey, high crime.50 months if he is vicious or if no individ-
school students accused but finally International standards, including the ual or institution is in a position to care for
acquitted of links with a banned organi- binding CRC, clearly state that depriva- him.33
zation were detained for 11 days during tion of liberty should be used as a last Noting the rise in the number of 15-
which they were tortured. A parliamentar- resort and then only for the minimum pos- year-olds remanded in custody in UK pris-
ian... came upon some of them lying on the sible period. This norm applies, inter alia, ons from 126 in 1993 to 224 in 1996
floor [of the police station] naked and to pre-trial detention. It is massively vio- the Howard League for Penal Reform
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

blindfolded. Medical reports confirmed the lated in this context: the justifications for claimed that [t]his expensive and damag-
use of torture.34 According to the same its use are too often at best questionable; ing use of prison was often needless as
source, two factors leading to the wide- the conditions of detention are frequently most of the children did not receive a
spread practice of torture in Turkey are inhumane; and the period of such deten- prison sentence at the end of their case.71
long detention periods in police custody tion may extend to weeks, months or even Similarly, reportedly only 13%-17% of
and the holding of detainees incommuni- years. under-trial child prisoners are convicted in
cado with virtually no access to a lawyer Justification: A former Minister of the end in Pakistan. 51
8 and family members. This kind of finding Justice of the Cte dIvoire explained the The International Association of
Main issues

Juvenile and Family Court Magistrates also be detained without charge for up to ditions in police lockups, sometimes in
expresses special concern over instances seven days.85 the same cells as adults charged with ser-
where a child or young person is arrested, If the magistrate determines that the ious crimes in violation of Jamaican law.
held in police custody and then released juvenile should remain in custody, there At one such lockup, inmates urinated
without there being any trace of his or will usually be a maximum time set by law into the hallway and raw sewage seeped
her detention and without the police ever before which the court appearance must directly into the sleeping area of the chil-
transmitting any documentation to a take place or, at least, by which the juve- drens cell. Sanitation facilities... over-
judge. This is not uncommon. In nile has to appear before the magistrate flowed with faecal matter. The lockups
Bangladesh, for example, it is reported again. The reappearance or hearing is no did not provide children with bedding or
that many children are never produced guarantee that the case will then be dealt blankets and in some lockups there were
before a judge. They are released after with and resolved. It suffices that the par- no beds. Insect infestation was rampant...
being subjected to a beating and having ents, a witness or the arresting police offi- Most children had not been permitted to
paid a bribe, and fear retaliation if they cer not show up, or that necessary docu- bathe since they were brought to the
complain. 50 In Kenya, [c]hildren are ments not arrive, for a hearing to be post- lockups. 31
picked up, held in police lockups where poned and, consequently, for the juvenile The Children and Young Persons Act
they are often beaten and almost always to remain in further pre-trial custody. In of Kenya allows police to detain 16- and
held with adults, and then released back some situations, lengthy pre-trial deten- 17-year-olds with adults, and application
onto the streets.32 tion is quite simply due to magistrates of this possibility would seem to be the
Duration: Normally, legislation sets at being overloaded. It is not unusual for rule rather than the exception.
24 or, more rarely, between 48 hours and juveniles to spend, in total, several Conditions for younger children have
four days the maximum period of months in such conditions. also inspired concern. At Nairobi Juvenile
remand before a juvenile is brought Authorized periods for pre-trial deten- Remand Home, children lacked any edu-
before a magistrate or judge who will tion can be quite long. Thus, in France, cational or recreational activities. Since in
decide on pre-trial disposal: returning minors aged 13 to 15 charged with a seri- practice, children are held on remand for
the boy or girl to the parents or ous criminal offence can be lawfully as long as three years, this severe depriva-
guardians, with or without bail; or main- remanded in custody for up to a year; tion can have dire cumulative effects.32
taining him or her on remand pending that limit is doubled for 16- and 17-year- The International Association of
the court appearance. This initial rule is olds. Juvenile and Family Court Magistrates
frequently violated, especially at week- Hundreds of the juveniles accused of points out the lack of appropriate and
ends when a juvenile arrested on a involvement in the genocide in Rwanda planned activities during pre-trial detention
Friday (or even a Thursday) may not see have been on pre-trial remand since the in an unnamed European country. We vis-
a magistrate until the following Monday. second half of 1994; as at end 1997, ited a modern remand centre for boys aged
In some situations, the rule is overlooked none had yet been brought to trial, or 13 to 18... but the juveniles are kept in a
completely, and no such encounter takes even presented before a judge. Elsewhere, cell, for months and for even more than a
place at all. in extreme instances, case-files have liter- year, without a single activity: no school,
Thus, a 1992 study in Lahore, ally been lost and the juvenile forgotten no workshop, no sport. The legal reason
Pakistan, found that, out of 50 child for years. given is that the Code [of the country in
detainees interviewed, only 16 had been Conditions: It is, somewhat paradoxi- question] allows no activity before the trial,
produced before a court within the cally, during the pre-trial period that a because the detainees are presumed inno-
required 24 hours. Many had been child or young person is likely to face the cent... We visited another prison, in Africa,
detained well beyond the maximum worst conditions of detention and when where the boys are kept for several months
remand period of 15 days, sometimes for relevant standards are likely to be most in the courtyard and dormitory reserved
months.51 Similarly, a report on Senegal abused. In comparison with sentenced for minors, with one or two armed guards.
notes that, in December 1994, 47 minors juveniles, he or she is at much greater risk Due to lack of resources, they have no
between the ages of 13 and 16 were of, for example, being in contact with activities whatsoever. 20 Lack of educa-
incarcerated at Dakar prison, 38 of whom adults (e.g. in police cells), being held in tional or training activities in the pre-trial
had been in provisional detention for unhealthy accommodation, lacking super- situation is sometimes justified by the
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

more than six months.41 vision by specially trained staff, being impossibility of planning for juveniles
Legal limits may be raised in what are without an activity programme, and hav- whose length of stay in the facility cannot
deemed special circumstances. Thus, ing to remain in closed quarters up to 23 be determined in advance. As far as deten-
[e]mergency legislation in Northern or even 24 hours a day. tion in police cells is concerned at least, the
Ireland allows children to be detained In Jamaica in 1994, one monitoring physical constraints usually render any
incommunicado in adult interrogation group found children as young as nine or such activity impossible anyway, even if it
facilities for up to 48 hours, and they can ten were detained in life-threatening con- were to be envisaged. 9
Main issues

Most societies, to varying degrees and
in different ways, have long accepted The rise and fall of juvenile courts: the United States experience
that children should be dealt with The worlds first juvenile court was introduced by the State of Illinois in 1899. Its purpose
somewhat differently from adults when was to decide what was best for the child and for society, rather than judge criminal
they are found to be in conflict with conduct. Hearings were to be conducted in closed chambers to protect children from
the law. In Norway, for example, a thir- stigmatization. The juvenile court could take preventive action in dealing with pre-
delinquents (children who were likely to commit crime) and could impose indeterminate
teenth century penal code specifies that sentences so that each child could reform at his or her own pace. A probation system
adults might lose both hands if steal- was also established to guide and oversee juveniles after their release from institutions. By
ing, children only one.69 Children 1924, special courts for children had spread to all but two US states.
accused of an offence now have the In the 1960s, doubts began to be expressed in the United States about the unbridled
right to treatment that takes full discretion given to juvenile court judges and the risk of procedural arbitrariness. In
account of their age, circumstances and re Gault, 1967, the US Supreme Court recognized that juveniles were entitled to some
needs, but without any basic elements basic constitutional protections such as the right to counsel, the right to be notified of
charges, the right to be protected against self-incrimination, the right to confront
of the general human right to a fair trial witnesses and the right to have a written transcript of the proceedings.
being sacrificed save the right to a An unexpected result of the Gault decision is that the focus has shifted from the
trial in public, which they forego in situation of the child to the circumstances of the crime itself. Legal ritual abounds,
order to protect their privacy. impeding the system from handling serious offenders efficiently and speedily. As a result
of public pressure to crack down on juvenile crime, most US states have, since the
1980s, dismantled large parts of the juvenile court system, allowing young people under
Juvenile courts 16 accused of serious crimes to be tried as adults.73
When Illinois introduced a separate sys-
tem of criminal justice for juveniles in different as to warrant the name juvenile child or young person coming into con-
1899, this was nonetheless a radical con- justice system is necessary in order to tact with the justice system unnecessar-
cept. Yet it was soon replicated through- comply with current norms. In the CRC, ily. This is particularly so for first-time
out the country and quickly spread it derives partly from the various special offenders accused of, and admitting, non-
abroad: Britain (1908), France and safeguards set out for children involved serious acts. Alternatives may involve
Belgium (1912), Spain (1918), the with the justice system, and partly from being dealt with by a body other than a
Netherlands (1921), Germany (1922), the injunction that States Parties shall court, or they may be brought into play
Austria (1923). By 1931, a League of seek to promote the establishment of at an earlier stage, prior to any hearing.
Nations Study found that such courts laws, procedures, authorities and institu-
existed in 30 countries.75 Ironically, it is in tions specifically applicable to children Screening and diversion: Probably the
the United States that the appropriateness alleged as, accused of, or recognized as simplest form of diversion is a police cau-
of a special court for all juveniles is now having infringed the penal law... (Art. tion. In this case, the police themselves,
being increasingly questioned. 40.3). Of all the instruments, it is in fact possibly after consultation with the fam-
In fact, no international standards go as the JDLs alone, in their very first sen- ily and a social worker, decide not to
far as to require explicitly the establish- tence, that contain explicit reference to a press formal charges but simply to warn
ment of a separate set of courts specifi- system as such, and without further elab- the child about his or her behaviour, with
cally for juveniles. This is explained sim- oration, as though taking its existence for the more or less explicit implication that
ply by reality. A surprisingly large number granted: The juvenile justice system any recurrence of that behaviour will
of countries have never made such a dis- should uphold the rights and safety and result in a court appearance. The real effi-
tinction, and would never have accepted promote the physical and mental well- cacy of this kind of action is, however,
such a rule. In those countries, conditions being of juveniles. widely questioned.
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

nonetheless invariably change (e.g. closed A somewhat more sophisticated

hearing) when the court hears a juvenile approach is being tried out by juvenile
case, and the potential sentences will be Avoiding contact courts in two French towns. Called Rappel
different from, and/or less severe than, with the justice system la loi (Reaffirmation of the law), it
those that adults could face. In a gradually increasing number of coun- involves a formal meeting between a rep-
There is nonetheless a more or less tries, the attempt is being made to find resentative of the court and the juvenile
10 implicit presumption that something so viable and constructive ways of avoiding a and his or her parents. During the inter-
Main issues

view, the juvenile is appraised of the legal

text relating to the offence as well as of The childrens hearings system in Scotland
This system applies to offenders under the age of 18, unless the nature of their offence is
the potential sentences of the court. The
very serious. Instead of appearing before a criminal court, they attend a hearing in
parents are in addition reminded of their conditions that are less formal and adversarial than a court setting. There, a panel of
legal responsibilities. It appears that ini- trained lay members decides, after discussion with the family, social workers, teachers
tial results of this experiment are encour- and the child concerned, on disposition based on the childs welfare. The decisions of
aging. the hearings are subject to appeal to the courts, but a child cannot have legal
The most developed approach lies in a representation during the hearings themselves. Because this conflicts with Article 37(d) of
full-fledged screening process carried out the CRC, which guarantees access to legal representation, the UK government filed a
by a social worker before the court reservation upon ratification of the CRC. Its motivation was to have the right to continue
appearance. In this instance, the social the present operation of childrens hearings... which have proved over the years to be a
worker assesses the likelihood of the very effective way of dealing with the problems of children. This reservation was
juvenile responding positively to a struc- withdrawn on 18 April 1997.
tured non-punitive measure. If the assess-
ment is positive, and if the juvenile Australia, whereby the police refer most such an initiative works. In this case, the
admits the offence and agrees to the young offenders to a mediation confer- families of the two boys concerned
scheme, the prosecution will normally ence involving the victim, the offender agreed that the medical bills would be
drop the case provided that the juvenile and his or her family, social workers and paid by the offenders family and that the
satisfactorily completes a group life-skills law enforcement officials. A coordinator
course, possibly with individualized seeks to reach a consensual decision as to
The welfare approach
supervision and counselling and/or with outcome and reparation, formalizes the and situacin irregular
additional conditions such as apologizing agreement and sets out follow-up mea- One way of responding to juvenile
to the victim. Successful completion of sures to ensure that it is respected.47 offending that gained considerable
the course results in the case disappearing With the same aim in view, increasing currency in the 1960s and 1970s was
from the records; non-fulfilment of the thought is being given to making the welfare approach. Under this
conditions, on the other hand, usually renewed use of traditional methods of doctrine, the young offender is deemed
leads to a court appearance. A good resolving conflicts between an offender to be in need of care and protection and
becomes the subject of welfare
example of such a programme is in opera- and his or her victim while ensuring measures rather than criminal
tion in Windhoek, Namibia, run by a adherence to the principles of juvenile prosecution. In Latin American
local non-governmental organization justice. countries, this response was reflected in
(NGO) the Legal Assistance Centre In the Philippines, for example, there the young person who committed an
in close cooperation with the public is a mediation scheme designed to bring anti-social act being considered as the
social services and the court. It claims a about amicable settlement by maximizing victim of an abnormal situation
the village justice system. A social worker known as situacin irregular where
success rate (non re-offending within two
his or her moral or physical well-being is
years) of some 80%.65 mediates on behalf of the juvenile in danger. This approach combines the
offender who may be released into the ostensibly positive features of a high
Alternatives to courts: There are now custody of his or her parents or of a minimum age of criminal responsibility
several examples of bodies being set up as responsible member of the community, (in some cases 18) with a non-repressive
a recognized substitute for the formal under the supervision of the Department response. Nonetheless, child advocates
court system, and which are mandated to of Social Welfare and Development.81 in many countries question the
appropriateness of both its conceptual
deal with young people whose offence is The welfare approach was also the solu- base and its ramifications in practice.
not classified as serious and who admit to tion largely opted for in Latin America. Peru, for one, has now abandoned it.
having committed that offence. The fundamental reassessment of the Among the many criticisms voiced
One such is the now well-known chil- aims and elements of juvenile justice now have been the paternalistic nature of the
drens hearings system in Scotland. A under way in South Africa is spawning a doctrine whereby the young person
somewhat similarly-motivated initiative number of innovative programmes. becomes a virtual ward of the State
has been developed in New Zealand for Building on the pre-colonial practice of instead of a person with rights and legal
capacity and the frequent recourse to
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

10- to 13-year-olds: a family group con- holding forums, led by elders, to repair placement in welfare institutions which
ference system, referral to which can be relationships and decide on restitution were in reality little different from
made, inter alia, where there is serious when an offence had been committed, a correctional institutions and where the
concern about a childs welfare by virtue Family Group Conferencing pilot project young person might be kept for several
of the number, nature and magnitude of has been set up in Pretoria. One confer- years on protective grounds. Acts
offences committed. In 1991, an appar- ence organized following the stabbing of constituting anti-social behaviour were
not defined in advance, moreover, so
ently successful Juvenile Cautioning one teenage boy by another provides a
due process was excluded. 11
Programme was set up in Wagga Wagga, particularly evocative example of how
Main issues

latter would replace the victims shirt. and debated. Second, the response to the if the formal path is chosen.
The new shirt would be handed over dur- offence in question cannot be deprivation In practice, it is believed that this has
ing a feast to be held at the home of the of liberty at the very least without the so far not resulted in significant prob-
offender, where a chicken would be known and real possibility of judicial lems, as long as the options open to such
cooked and shared. review. This is why alternative bodies and alternative bodies are restricted to non-
Needless to say, recourse to tradi- schemes are invariably not mandated to custodial and support-oriented or restora-
tional methods is not to be seen as an deal with serious offences. The listing of tive measures. A 1995 report on Viet
automatically positive strategy. Not offences falling into the serious category Nam thus expressed considerable concern
always do they comply with the letter varies in its detail from one country to over the fact that 90% of all juvenile
and spirit of the CRC, as illustrated by a another, but will generally include all cases those classified as less serious
particularly disturbing account from major crimes of violence, including rape were dealt with by an administrative
Bangladesh where, in May 1994, a vil- and armed robbery. panel consisting of representatives from
lage council (salish) sentenced a 13-year- The overall support that exists for the childs school, the Youth Union, the
old girl to 101 lashes in public for hav- these alternative systems among juvenile Womens Union, the police and the pro-
ing been raped.50 justice professionals is considerably tem- secution, which had the authority to
pered by one concern in particular that order deprivation of liberty.52
also applies to both diversion schemes The establishment of extra-judicial
Due process guarantees and non-court bodies: can these extra- solutions thus requires each time that
in extra-judicial solutions judicial responses provide guarantees for clear and known procedures exist for
The CRC explicitly calls on States Parties the juvenile that are equivalent to those ensuring that the juvenile is never pres-
to promote the establishment of measures inherent in due process in a normal court sured, even passively, into admitting the
for dealing with children alleged as, of law and to which he or she has an charge and is aware of the right to repre-
accused of, or recognized as having absolute right under the CRC? This issue sentation if he or she chooses the normal
infringed the penal law [...] without resort- arises above all from the fact that there is court process. Indeed, the CRC obliga-
ing to judicial proceedings... (Art. 40.3.b). no presumption of innocence and, invari- tion to foster the establishment of alter-
No alternative system be it diver- ably, no right to legal representation. In native procedures comes with two qualifi-
sionary or an alternative to the court itself neither case, therefore, is there any pro- cations: whenever appropriate and desir-
can be designed to replace the formal cedure for establishing whether or not able and providing that human rights
court procedure entirely, however. The the offence was committed as charged. and legal safeguards are fully respected
functioning of all such alternatives is first The danger is at least twofold: that the (Art. 40.3.b). Ensuring that recourse to
and foremost dependent on the juvenile juvenile admits the offence as it stands due process procedure is always possible,
admitting the offence. If he or she denies simply to avoid the formal justice system, before and immediately after going
the alleged act, a court of law is the only and that he or she is not made fully aware through the alternative channel, is a fun-
forum in which the case should be heard of the possibilities of legal representation damental condition in this respect.

The Beijing Rules set out a non- Non-custodial Measures, known as the habilitation of the juvenile concerned.
exhaustive series of possible sentencing Tokyo Rules. In many countries, deliberately or
options reflected more summarily in because of lack of attention or priority to
the CRC that avoid deprivation of The last resort principle as applied to developing non-custodial and constructive
liberty. As during the pre-trial stage, sentencing means that deprivation of lib-
the Beijing Rules and CRC provide responses, the list of options in practice is
erty must not be imposed unless the
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

that recourse to deprivation of liberty objectives of the measure principally drastically reduced, often to no more than
as a sentence should be a last resort rehabilitation in the case of juveniles a caution or conditional discharge, a fine,
and for the shortest possible time. The could not, in the opinion of the judge, be or a suspended custodial sentence. Other
need to make greatest possible use of achieved in a non-custodial setting. responses may be on the statute books, but
alternative sanctions for offenders Similarly, the shortest possible time are not practical propositions because of a
whatever their age is strongly rein- should generally be interpreted as the professed lack of financial and human
forced, moreover, by the 1990 United period within which that custodial treat- resources. The list is effectively further
12 Nations Standard Minimum Rules for ment may be expected to secure the re- reduced by the fact that the children con-
Main issues

housed in adult penitentiaries for protec-

Sentencing options in the Beijing Rules tive reasons. 25 In Bangladesh, [t]he
The Beijing Rules specify the following sentencing options: absence of suitable institutions for the
care, guidance and supervision orders care and rehabilitation of young offend-
probation ers means these children serve their sen-
community service orders
tences in overcrowded prisons where
financial penalties, compensation and restitution
intermediate treatment and other treatment orders
their safety and personal development are
orders to participate in group counselling and other similar activities
neglected. The children are held incar-
orders concerning foster care, living communities or other educational settings cerated in the same rooms or wards as
The Beijing Rules also state that social enquiry reports should be requested in the case of adults.50 In the United States, children
all but minor offences, prior to sentencing (Rule 16). The aim of these reports is to enable housed with adults are five times more
the magistrate or judge to take due account of the circumstances of the offender likely to be sexually assaulted, twice as
(following the principle of proportionality) on the basis of information on his or her likely to be beaten and 50% more likely
background and that of the family. to be attacked with a weapon than those
The Commentary to Rule 16 notes that adequate social services should be available to children housed in juvenile facilities,
deliver social enquiry reports of a qualified nature. But such services are lacking in many
countries, both in quality and quantity. A request for such a social enquiry report may according to the American Civil Liberties
therefore result in a delay to the proceedings of several weeks or even months, due to Union. Nationwide in 1994, 45 children
heavy workload, and the results may not be especially useful in guiding decisions. If, in died while they were locked up in state
particular, the juvenile is to spend the period awaiting the completion of the report in adult prisons or detention centers. 76
pre-trial custody, the benefits of having access to this kind of information are likely in Separation may also be rudimentary,
many instances to be outweighed by the negative ramifications of the process. not corresponding to the accepted defini-
tion of being both out of sight and out of
cerned, and their families, are quite simply tions of staff dealing with juveniles, and earshot of adults, even though physical
unable to pay fines. And so the last resort limitations on permissible punishments. separation may be ensured. In such
becomes a commonplace solution, and the instances, too, it is particularly unlikely
shortest possible time stretches into that the sought-after specialized nature
months and even years. Separation from adults of a juvenile detention facility will exist
Of note, particularly in the industrial- This basic and long-standing principle to any significant degree.
ized countries, is the disproportionately has two purposes: to protect children Under the CRC, there can be excep-
high percentage of children of ethnic from exploitation, abuse and negative tions to the separation rule, but only in
minorities and indigenous peoples who are the best interests of the child. The most
influences by adults; and to ensure that
sentenced to deprivation of liberty. This obviously acceptable application of this
the detention of children is effected in
reality is reported from Canada, the United qualification is probably the case of chil-
facilities that cater to their special needs. dren and parents being arrested jointly
States and Australia, for example, as well as The principle tends to be respected more
from European countries. for an offence such as illegal immigration.
or violated less for children and There are, however, also frequent
International law accepts that depriva- young people serving a custodial sen- attempts to invoke the exception to jus-
tion of liberty may be required for juveniles tence than for those on pre-trial remand. tify detention in non-specialized facilities
in certain cases. In so doing, however, it This is by no means a general rule how- in order, for example, to avoid sending
sets out in the JDLs a wide range of ever. An international study conducted in the child concerned to an establishment
conditions under which sentences of this 1994 found that in the Occupied far from home. In such cases, the argu-
nature are to be served. The JDLs essen- Territories, contrary to practices in Israel, ments are a priori clearly less persuasive.
tially try to ensure that deprivation of lib- prisoners as young as 10 are held together Alternative sentences that do not involve
erty does not mean deprivation of rights to with adults and subjected to the same confinement would first of all have to be
which all persons under 18 are entitled, treatment. In ex-Zaire, although separa- demonstrated as entirely inappropriate
whatever their situation. In addition to the tion of minors from adult detainees was for the child in question; only then can
fundamental requirement for protection policy, no such distinction was made. serious consideration begin as to whether
that separation from adults constitutes, Indeed, more adults were found in one the best interests of the child lie in
these conditions cover all aspects of con- pavilion reserved for minors than minors
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

remaining near the family or being sepa-

finement, including privacy, access to med- themselves.35 Similarly, national legislation rated from incarcerated adults.
ical treatment, adequate nutrition, cloth- in all Latin American and Caribbean coun-
ing, and availability of educational and tries explicitly requires separation of juve-
recreational activities, as well as issues such niles from adults, but is reportedly violated Children in prison
as contact with the outside world (includ- to some extent almost everywhere in the with their mothers
ing family) and preparation for release. The region in several countries, a significant Although the situation of children in prison
JDLs further set standards for the qualifica- number of children are reported to be with their mothers is not strictly speaking a 13
Main issues

juvenile justice question, it is considered frame also, of course, covers that of the poor supervision: far from being spe-
here because it involves the central issue of likely duration of breastfeeding, another cially qualified and motivated, staff in
children deprived of their liberty. important element. fact often consider their appointment to
The 1955 Standard Minimum Rules a juvenile facility or wing as a negative
for the Treatment of Prisoners state that step in their career.
[w]here nursing infants are allowed to Material and other
remain in the institution with their moth- conditions of detention
ers, there should be a nursery with While conditions of detention for sen- Disciplinary measures
trained staff to care for them when they tenced juveniles are likely to be better than It is a much-overlooked provision of the
are not in the care of their mothers (Rule for pre-trial detainees including special JDLs that a wide range of punishments are
23). As in the case of minimum age of facilities, trained staff, a programme of edu- prohibited in regard to juvenile detainees.
criminal responsibility, therefore, there is cational and recreational activities this In common with adults, any punishment
no international standard regarding the is unfortunately very far from saying that that might be qualified as being cruel,
age until which if at all a child may conditions overall are acceptable. inhuman or degrading is of course out-
stay with his or her incarcerated mother, The childrens colonies where the juve- lawed. Disciplinary measures that are
and this void is reflected in widely vary- nile delinquents served their sentences explicitly mentioned in the JDLs as being
ing practices around the world. were overcrowded and poorly financed. forbidden for juveniles are (Rule L):
In some countries (e.g. China) the rule The youths received no education there corporal punishment;
is that a pregnant woman or a woman and they were frequently ill-treated and placement in a dark cell;
with a child under 12 months will not humiliated, says one report on conditions
serve a prison sentence until the child in Kazakhastan in 1996. 34 Under- The special situation
reaches that age, and the child will then resourced, repressive detention facilities of girls in detention
not accompany her in prison. At the for juveniles, which may be catering to The major problems, often highly
other extreme, children may be able to double or more their intended capacity, disturbing in their implications, faced by
remain with their mother until the age of are anything but rare, and are to be found girls deprived of their liberty include:
because of the relatively low numbers
three years (e.g. Rwanda, Hong Kong) or particularly as youth wings of adult of young female offenders, specialized
in some countries often on an informal prisons in some of the richer industrial- custodial facilities, whether pre-trial or
basis even older (e.g. six years at ized countries as well as elsewhere. post-sentence, are often few and far
Makala Prison in ex-Zaire). In between Juvenile justice systems are essentially between, meaning that girls are prone
are situations where a baby born in prison designed to deal with boys and are based to being held in places far from their
is removed from the mothers care within on assumptions, concepts and explana- family;
for a similar reason, they are more
24 to 72 hours (certain states in the USA) tions about offending by boys. One con-
or, whether born in prison or not, may likely than boys to be held with adults
sequence is a shortage of organizational there are no special young offender
remain with the mother variously until and other resources for dealing with girls institutions for girls in Britain, for
the age of one year (Scotland), 18 in detention, putting them in a particu- example. The practice of mixing girls
months (e.g. France, England and Wales, larly disadvantaged situation. with adult female detainees is
Uganda) to two years (probably the most The main problem areas, and the ones moreover justified by the authorities in
common, e.g. Nepal, Sudan, Namibia). in which international standards are most some countries as actually being
The circumstances of such detention frequently violated, include: positive for girls, although no decisive
evidence on this would seem to exist;
range from an ordinary regime where the lack of information concerning the rules
overall, girls are more likely than boys
mother simply looks after her child in force and the rights of detainees; to be deprived of educational
within the confines of the female section insufficient space in sleeping and living opportunities when detained;
of the prison, in whatever conditions that quarters; in common with incarcerated women

may imply, through to special cells or inadequate clothing and protection in general, the special hygiene needs
wings with play facilities, and to separate from the cold; of girls are notoriously subject to being
houses (e.g. Scotland, Poland) with an insufficient and/or poor quality food
The Beijing Rules recognize the
adapted regime. served at unreasonable times (e.g. last particular concern that girls require,
Whatever the policy decision, it would meal of the day at 3 p.m.); albeit in a summary and only partial
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

seem that one basic rule at least should be poor sanitary and washing facilities, fashion (Rule 26.4): Young female
followed: at a very minimum, the child with no privacy; offenders placed in an institution deserve
should not be separated from his or her difficulty in accessing medical and den- special attention as to their personal
mother until the age of 12 months. It is tal treatment; needs and problems. They shall by no
means receive less care, protection,
now widely recognized that the first year poor or nonexistent educational and
assistance, treatment and training than
of life is a vital period in a childs devel- vocational training opportunities; young male offenders. Their fair
opment and requires the presence of the little or no contact with the outside treatment shall be ensured.
14 primary caregiver at least. This time world;
Main issues

closed or solitary confinement; this age group. Limitations on family visits is frequently not the case.
reduction of diet; or other forms of contact are also frequent. Connected to these problems is the dif-
restriction or denial of contact with Violations of these provisions are often ficulty found in registering a complaint.
family members; hard to detect. The juvenile is of course Frequently the complaints procedure
a requirement to work. invariably unaware that such measures are together with other aspects of the detainees
In practice, recourse to solitary confine- indeed forbidden under international law rights is not made known. In other situa-
ment and reduction of diet in particular is as indeed are the administrators and staff of tions, efforts are made to discourage com-
common. This is especially so when juve- correctional facilities. These prohibitions plaints, or the procedure itself is adminis-
niles are housed in special wings of adult may well not be reflected in national law or tered or blocked by those against whom a
prisons (or, worse, together with adults), in rules governing the facilities, moreover. complaint is, or would be, directed. Any
where staff often have neither special And despite the additional obligation that such act or omission constitutes, of course,
training nor motivation for dealing with all disciplinary measures be recorded, this a violation of norms laid down in the JDLs.

The Riyadh Guidelines cover mea- considerable similarity between measures to best and most fundamental manner in which
sures to prevent juvenile offending on be envisaged for prevention on all three lev- to approach prevention. Indeed, the Riyadh
a number of levels, notably: els and those that are proposed for reinte- Guidelines echo many of the rights set out
gration itself. in the Convention as basic components of
primary prevention, i.e. general measures Rule 1.3 of the Beijing Rules notes the primary and secondary prevention and, per-
to promote social justice and equal need for positive measures that involve the haps to a lesser extent, at the tertiary level.
opportunity, which thus tackle perceived full mobilization of all possible resources, Thus, adequate standard of living and access
root causes of offending such as poverty including the family, volunteers and com- to an education system that transmits posi-
and other forms of marginalization; munity groups, as well as schools and other tive values to children are both rights (in the
secondary prevention, i.e. measures to community institutions, for the purpose of CRC) and elements of primary prevention
assist children who are identified as promoting the well-being of the juvenile, (in the Guidelines). The familys primary
being more particularly at risk, such as with a view to reducing the need for inter- responsibility for the welfare, protection and
those whose parents are themselves in vention under the law.... upbringing of the child, and the States
special difficulty or are not caring Equally, ECOSOC resolution 1989/66 obligation under the CRC both to assist it in
appropriately for them; makes explicit reference to one facet of this this role but also to intervene when parents
tertiary prevention, involving schemes reality when it [r]equests the Secretary are nonetheless manifestly unwilling or
to avoid unnecessary contact with the General ... to ensure effective programme unable to assume their responsibilities, are
formal justice system and other mea- interlinkages within the United Nations sys- basic to the philosophy behind both instru-
sures to prevent reoffending. tem between juvenile justice, within the ments in terms of secondary prevention. By
This breakdown demonstrates the clear framework of the Beijing Rules, and situa- encouraging responses to offenders that
linkage between the concept of prevention tions of social risk, especially youthful drug avoid recourse to judicial proceedings, and
and that of reintegration. Reintegration is abuse, child abuse, child sale and trafficking, stipulating a major aim of any response as
the stated aim of juvenile justice as a whole. child prostitution and street children. being the childs reintegration in society, the
Very often, by this or another name such as With specific reference to European CRC also reflects the precepts of tertiary
rehabilitation, it is perceived in terms of countries in transition, the growth in juve- prevention as set out in the Guidelines.
simply assisting an offenders return to the nile crime is seen as related not only to the The implications of this homogenous
community. In fact, reintegration is more lifting of social and political repression, approach are clearly that community-based
usefully seen as a process that attempts to along with disintegrating public order and and family-focused initiatives are to be
go back to square one, looking on the juve- the deteriorating economic situation but developed to a maximum. This cannot be a
nile concerned as being particularly at risk also to the inadequate social support for task that falls to juvenile justice profession-
of committing offences and taking appropri- adolescents at the important juncture als, but to a wide range of governmental and
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

ate steps, with him or her as well as with the between school and work, and family dys- non-governmental bodies with mandates in
family and community, to reduce that risk as function.78 Elsewhere, too, strengthening these spheres. Surely in part because of this,
far as possible. Consequently, while reinte- families and promoting acquisition of par- responsibilities remain undefined and action
gration is to be the object of specific mea- enting skills have been identified as vital unsystematic. Prevention and reintegration
sures set out more especially in the non- preventive factors.82 efforts fully worthy of the name therefore
binding international texts for instance, The CRC does not explicitly mention still tend to constitute the weakest links in
vocational training, counselling, conditional preventive action, but many see implementa- the chain of actions intended to promote
release, and halfway houses there is also tion of the treaty as a whole as being the juvenile justice. 15
Discussion site

by Nigel Cantwell
It would be clearly Utopian to seek complex, as the contents of this Digest tually identical with the promotion and
the realization of a crime-free society. themselves show. All are important from a protection of the rights of the child con-
Yet it is this goal that is the logical childrens rights standpoint. Some issues tained in the CRC. This may not be sur-
projection of the most frequent atti- nonetheless manage to grab the headlines prising, but it appears to be largely ignored.
tudes and policies towards offending, for less than logical reasons. One such is In addition, debate continues often
a two-pronged approach of stamping the age of criminal responsibility. It is true despite documented evidence as to the
out juvenile crime and protecting the that a populist proposal to lower the min-
public from offenders by removing conditions that at least increase propensity
imum age may seem significant, in that it to offend while not necessarily being full-
them from society. This is our legacy
today, and it creates a very hostile will be seen both to translate a certain fledged causal factors. Thus, for example,
environment in which to promote a attitude towards young offenders and in material poverty absolute or relative
mind-set where the rule of law does principle to enable more punitive mea- is still not accepted in some circles as con-
not just mean bringing individuals sures to be taken in their regard. It will stituting a precipitating factor, regardless of
who violate it to book, but also ensur- therefore gain attention. This Digest its being formally and internationally rec-
ing that the human rights of those argues, however, that the apparently sim- ognized as such in the Riyadh Guidelines.
same individuals are fully respected. ple and basic concept of setting an age Such debate can be short-circuited,
below which a child cannot be heard or however, by adopting a rights-based
It is a legacy that makes it possible for a tried in a criminal court is in fact both a approach to the implementation of the
British newspaper headline to read Serves Pandoras Box and, in terms of its practical Guidelines. Linking the principles of the
you right, you little bastards when two 10- importance for the proper administration Guidelines with the obligations of the
year-old boys are sentenced to indetermi- of juvenile justice, invariably irrelevant. CRC serves not only to give greater force
nate reclusion for murder. It is a legacy that What counts most for juvenile justice is to preventive efforts but also to main-
makes it exceedingly difficult to find signif- whether or not the rights of children both
stream both the issue and the notoriously
icant support for the one rehabilitation below and above whatever age is chosen
neglected Guidelines themselves, often
centre in Abidjan that is consequently are fully respected when they come into
wrongly dismissed out of hand as vague
able to take in just 1% of the juvenile conflict with the law, and that accepted
and unrealistic.
prison population. It is a legacy that, virtu- international norms guide the reaction to
their situation. In other words, however Such an approach paves the way for
ally intact, has simply accumulated com- programming and policy development at
pound interest over the years, and whose much importance it seems to be given,
minimum age is not a big issue. all levels in spheres ranging from commu-
mass is thus continuing to grow. nity health to education and family sup-
On the other hand, two issues arguably
Most importantly perhaps, it is a legacy port services. All should be actively taking
stand out as truly crucial in themselves,
that spawns the biggest problem in estab- greater account of their potential contribu-
in their implications, and in the direct and
lishing a more realistic, and certainly more tion to prevention of juvenile offending.
indirect consequences of tackling them:
effective, objective: that of first and fore- prevention and detention. This is a far cry from todays situation
most eliminating those factors and circum- Prevention. A juvenile justice policy is not where, in general, such preventive efforts
stances that almost ineluctably push young a policy unless it includes prevention. And are relegated to the confines of isolated
people towards behaviour patterns bring- prevention will not cannot work in a initiatives and fitful advocacy coming from
ing them into recurrent conflict with the vacuum. Yet most preventive efforts are purely juvenile justice circles.
law, and ensuring that the response to such neighbourhood or local schemes involving Detention. In the great majority of coun-
behaviour does not simply reinforce that no change in those external factors that tries, most children deprived of their lib-
very same tendency. have been shown to create or foster the erty have not been convicted of an offence:
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile justice

And that objective is nothing more breeding ground for juvenile offending. they are on pre-trial remand, are accused
but also nothing less than justice. Worse, without effective prevention, the of a minor and non-violent offence, and
likelihood of being able to implement a will not receive a custodial sentence when
juvenile justice system worthy of its name is they appear in court. As highlighted in this
Identifying the real issues significantly reduced. Digest, it is during pre-trial detention that
The problems to be tackled in the sphere Efforts to prevent offending by young many of the worst abuses of all kinds occur.
16 of juvenile justice are manifold and often people are, from a practical standpoint, vir- The situation of children arrested and
Discussion site

detained for vagrancy is of special concern. facilities, of which many have no first-
Restorative justice
As regards those juveniles who are hand experience, in order to sensitize
From both a tertiary prevention them to the reality of the conditions in
indeed sentenced to deprivation of lib- standpoint and to avoid detention of
erty, the high cost and overall ineffective- which they keep, and to which they sen-
juveniles, restorative justice through
ness not to say counter-productive con- alternatives to courts is the kind of tence, juveniles who appear before them;
sequences of custodial sentences are response that seems to contain the allowing and encouraging local associa-

now well documented. Yet recourse to essential features that juvenile justice tions to have access to such facilities,
them is nonetheless, in most countries, far professionals would like to see in place both in order to sensitize their members
for dealing with most offenders: and the community, and also to provide
too frequent and in total contradiction the child or young person involved has
with the injunction that they be used only to take responsibility for, and face the
services and to act informally as media-
as a last resort. consequences of, his or her act as tors between the detainees and the
Concerted efforts in these respects being illegal (thereby distancing such administration;
disposal from the welfare approach); setting up regular coordination meetings,
would imply or involve, among other
he or she may be involved in the deci- at local and national levels, between the
things: sion on sanctions and compensation;
developing or improving training for all
range of governmental departments con-
the problem can be dealt with swiftly,
involved in dealing with juveniles with the process being clearly in rela- cerned and NGOs in order to discuss
within the justice system, including tion to the act in question, not chrono- problems in the light of standards to be
police and magistrates; logically divorced from it; upheld and aims to be achieved, as well
there is involvement of both the family as to devise common approaches and
developing specialized social and para-
and the community; public messages where possible;
legal services; there can be salutary contact between
responding systematically to proposals,
developing diversion and alternatives the perpetrator and the victim;
to the formal court setting, while guar- the perpetrator makes direct amends
actions and decisions that run counter
anteeing due process; to the victim; to international standards and, where
developing restorative justice and non-
contact and involvement with the for- applicable, to national law.
mal justice system is avoided; Initiatives such as these could provide
custodial sentencing options. there is no recourse to deprivation of
Clearly, significant steps in these directions a more solid and wider understanding as a
liberty (including, normally, prior to
would already go a long way to resolving the hearing); basis for bringing about change. And at
many of the major problems currently the process is designed to reintegrate, the very least they would in themselves
being faced in the juvenile justice sphere. not to exclude or marginalize, the be positive steps towards juvenile justice.

demand that governments live up to, and

Tackling public opinion improve, international standards on envi- Regular coordination meetings
There has been a widespread belief that ronmental protection, by far the strongest One example of such a scheme is the
children in conflict with the law do not voice heard on juvenile justice matters Juvenile Justice Forum in Namibia. It
constitute a high priority for most govern- comes from those actively intent on brings together on a regular basis, in the
ments. Much effort has been devoted to and unduly successful at getting gov- capital as well as in an increasing number
pushing the issue higher up the interna- ernments (and the judiciary) to violate of provincial locations, representatives of
tional and national agendas. From many Ministries (Youth and Sports, Justice,
internationally recognized human rights.
Education, Health and Social Services,
standpoints, this effort has probably been There is every reason to believe that etc.), the Department of Prisons, the
misjudged: the issue was already firmly successful attempts to improve compli- Namibian Police, the judiciary, local NGOs
there, at least as a national priority. The ance with international standards in such and UNICEF. It enables both overall policy
problem has been that it is tackled in terms countries will have to incorporate efforts questions to be debated and individual
of fighting juvenile crime rather than on to change the balance of popular senti- situations and problems to be raised, with
the basis of promoting juvenile justice. ment. Realistically, this will not happen the advantage that immediate reactions
The field of juvenile justice is one of can be secured, possible obstacles
simply through well-intentioned propa- identified and responsibilities assigned.
those in which the opinion of the public ganda. It will require a multi-pronged Specific suggestions for cooperation are
or more accurately in most cases the thrust founded on a number of disparate, discussed, as are draft documents,
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile justice

opinion most forcefully transmitted by the though coherent and coordinated, initia- including proposed legislative and policy
media is a major factor, particularly, tives. According to the country con- texts. The multidisciplinary and mixed
though by no means only, in the industri- cerned, these could begin with one or (government and civil society)
alized countries. Environmental issues are more of the following: participation provides a constructive and
realistic framework for adopting a
another such field. The difference between encouraging or requiring magistrates
coherent response to juvenile justice
them of course lies in the fact that, and judges dealing with juvenile cases issues.
whereas environmentalist groups tend to to visit pre-trial and post-trial detention 17

his section contains information Year founded Defence for Children International (DCI )

T on some of the major inter-

governmental organizations,
United Nations affiliated institutes and
Geographical scope
Australia and the States and Territories
P.O. Box 88
CH - 1211 Genve 20
Tel.: +41 22 734 0558
international and regional NGOs Activities
working in the field of juvenile justice. A United Nations affiliated research institute. Fax: +41 22 740 1145
It is not meant to be a comprehensive Compiles data on arrests, trials, pre-trial E-mail:
listing; nor does it represent a detention and custodial sentencing of children; Contact
prioritization or ranking of conducts research on the level and nature of Anne Grandjean
organizations, but merely a first juvenile arrests, disposition of children by Year founded
attempt to provide signposts in a courts, measures to prevent crimes by children, 1979
highly complex field. It is hoped that and comparison of juvenile and adult crime. Geographical scope
the contacts listed will serve as links to National sections and associate members in
organizations of various other types Web home page over 60 countries on all continents.
international and national professional http// Activities
organizations, academic and other Contains full text of selected research papers, Coordinates legal and social defence teams,
institutes, national NGOs and national some of which relate to juvenile justice in training programmes, dossier on international
Australia; criminal justice statistics; a
bodies whose work may be relevant bibliography and a list of proposed and
standards related to childrens rights, and
to the topic. Some Internet information previous conferences.
international network on juvenile justice;
has also been included, which reflects carries out studies on children in prison in
websites available in December 1997; various countries. Maintains documentation
this information is, of course, subject to centre on childrens rights issues (nearly 12,000
change. Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America items); publishes a newsletter on United
Apartado 1734 Nations activities concerning the protection of
UNICEF, as part of its own mandate to protect 2050 San Pedro the rights of the child and the International
and promote childrens rights, is actively Costa Rica Childrens Rights Monitor.
involved in juvenile justice concerns. During Tel.: +506 253 5439
1997, the Child Protection Section of its Fax: +506 224 5689 Web home page
Programme Division in New York which E-mail:
provides support to UNICEF field offices in all Contact person Contains newsletter, overview of recent peri-
special protection areas, including juvenile Bruce Harris odic State Reports to the Committee on the
justice undertook field consultations on Rights of the Child, and up-to-date information
Executive Director, Latin American
juvenile justice in Moscow and Teheran. It has about the Committee (members, agenda, list of
programmes States Parties). Also contains full text of rele-
also reviewed and administered funding of
Year founded vant instruments (CRC, Riyadh Guidelines,
juvenile justice projects in Chile, Nicaragua,
1981 (first programme in Latin America) Beijing Rules, JDLs ).
Namibia and South Africa, and has
contributed to international drafting 1969 (Covenant House in the United States)
procedures in this area. A review of juvenile Geographical scope
justice activities in all UNICEFs programming Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
countries is currently under way (to date, 70 Nicaragua Human Rights Watch - Childrens Rights
countries have been reviewed). An Innocenti Activities Project
Global Seminar on the subject of juvenile Provides residential and non-residential 485 Fifth Avenue
justice was organized by our Centre in programmes for street children, including New York, NY 10017-6104
Florence in October 1997. A report of the legal defence and assistance to children under United States
meeting and several case studies will be arrest, in pre-trial detention and in prison. Has Tel.: + 1 212 972 8405
published in 1998. initiated more than 540 criminal cases Fax: + 1 212 972 0905
accusing security forces and judges of abuse E-mail:
Web home page of authority, torture and murder of street Person(s) to contact children. Publishes specific reports on issues Lois Whitman
A search function is available to find specific affecting street children. Organizes training Director
items by keywords, including information on courses in areas such as the legal defence of Year founded
juvenile justice. street children. 1994
Geographical scope
Australian Institute of Criminology Web home page Worldwide
74 Leichhardt Street Activities
Griffith ACT 2603 Available in English, Spanish and French. Issues reports and carries out advocacy on
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

or GPO Box 2944 Currently contains full-text excerpts from its police violence and arbitrary confinement of
Canberra ACT 2601 1997 book Report on the Torture of Street children (Bulgaria, Guatemala); police abuse
Australia Children in Guatemala and Honduras, and killings of street children (India); abuse of
Tel.: +61 2 6260 9200 1990-1997; list of resources on and off the Net; children by security forces and paramilitaries
Fax: +61 2 6260 9201 and information about activities and advocacy (Northern Ireland); torture of children (Turkey);
work on behalf of street children. Online
E-mail: the situation of children in confinement
resource centre being completed which will
Contact person (Romania, United States); and children
contain documentation on street children in
Dr. Adam Graycar Central America. improperly detained in adult lockups
18 Director (Jamaica).

Activities release if possible, or alternatives to detention)

Web home page Provides information and training on and social and professional rehabilitation (creation of centres to rehabilitate children;
childrens rights concerns; coordinates
Contains information by regional office and
international seminars and a documentation educational activities).
a search-by-keyword site that links to
detailed country reports. centre on the rights of the child; facilitates Information services
contacts between participant members and Information on BICE projects, methodology;
organizes exchanges. BICE position papers.
Information services
Institute for the Study and Treatment Provides information on childrens rights,
including IDE seminar reports. The International Centre for Criminal Law
of Delinquency
Reform and Criminal Justice Policy
Kings College London
1822 East Mall
Strand, London WC2R 2LS
International Association of Juvenile and Vancouver, B.C.
United Kingdom Canada, V6T 1Z1
Tel.: +44 171 873 2822 Family Court Magistrates
Molenstraat 15 Tel.: +1 604 822 9875; +1 604 822 9522
Fax: +44 171 873 2823 Fax: +1 604 822 9317
E-mail: 4851 SG Ulvenhout
Contact person The Netherlands
Contact person
Tel. and fax: +31 76 561 2640
Carol Martin Yvon Dandurand
Research Development Officer Director of Policy Development
Contact person Year founded
Year founded
Jacob J. Van der Goes 1991
Secretary General Geographical scope
Geographical scope
Date founded Global, but emphasis on Asia-Pacific region
A worldwide membership organization
1926 (Peoples Republic of China, Thailand and
Geographical scope Myanmar)
An educational charity and membership
Affiliated associations and individual Activities
organization specializing in all aspects of members worldwide Carries out activities relating to policy
criminal justice, carries out research and seeks Activities development and research; technical
to bring together criminal justice practitioners, Organizes congresses and seminars; provides cooperation, assistance and advisory services;
sentencers, policy makers and academics training for magistrates, judges and workers in public consultation and information in all
through a programme of conferences, courses, the field of juvenile justice; carries out areas of criminal law reform and criminal
seminars, lectures, study visits and research in juvenile justice, family law and justice policy, in particular activities involving
publications. child protection. children and youth whether victims or
Information services perpetrators of crime.
Web home page
Provides publications (periodical, research Web home page
Contains information about ISTD findings), contacts with members and member
organizations, and information on ongoing
(conferences, seminars, study tours, courses Contains information about the Centre, full
and meetings, publications and research). research and projects.
text of papers and reports on searchable
database, and guide to related sites.
International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE)
63, rue de Lausanne International Centre for the Prevention
Institut International des Droits de lEnfant CH- 1202 Genve of Crime
c/o Institut universitaire Kurt Bsch Switzerland 507 Place darmes No.2100
P.O. Box 4176 Tel.: +41 22 731 3248 Montreal, Quebec
1950 Sion 4 Fax: +41 22 731 7793 Canada H2Y 2W8
Switzerland E-mail:
Tel.: +1 514 288 6731
Tel.: +41 27 203 7383 Contact person
Fax: +1 514 288 8763
Fax: +41 27 203 7384 Franois Regg
E-mail : Secretary General
Contact person
Contact person: Year founded
Irvin Waller
Jean Zermatten 1948
Geographical scope Director General
Juvenile court judge Year founded
Year founded Latin America: Ecuador
Africa (French-speaking): Cte dIvoire, 1994
1995 Geographical scope
Guinea, Mali , Republic of the Congo, Senegal
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

Geographical scope Worldwide, with significant work to date in

and Togo
Scholarships granted for participation in IDE Europe, North America, Southern and West
Central and Eastern Europe: Estonia
activities; participants from Albania, Activities Africa
Argentina, Austria, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Carries out activities related to arrest and pre- Activities
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, trial detention (use of remand in custody, legal Assists cities and countries to reduce
Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, and social support and assistance), delinquency, violence and insecurity,
Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, prevention (community awareness), children harnessing best practice worldwide to solve
Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Senegal, in prison (separation from adults, educational local problems. Focuses on investing in youth
Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda activities, family visits, nutrition/sanitation; and families, breaking the cycle of violence 19

against women and children as well as Year founded organizes conferences and seminars to bring
promoting greater responsibility among youth 1946 together penal reform activists.
as ways of making communities safer. Provides Geographical scope Information services
technical assistance, facilitates exchange of Worldwide Publishes newsletters and annual reports about
expertise and promotes public awareness. Activities international developments in penal reform.
Publishes the Crime Prevention Digest, which The Research and Right to Development Branch
illustrates successes, benefits and directions for undertakes research and analysis; provides
prevention. information services to other parts of the United Rdda Barnen
Nations system; and develops the policy of the (Swedish Save the Children)
Web home page High Commissioner regarding, inter alia, the Torsgatan 4 administration of juvenile justice. S-107 88 Stockholm
Contains information about the Centre, and The Support Services Branch provides support Sweden
a selection of 100 best practices for successful to United Nations human rights bodies and Tel.: +46 8 698 9000
crime prevention, including the who, what Fax: +46 8 698 9012
organs that are involved in various ways with
and how of national and local activities. Person(s) to contact
juvenile justice. Among these are, first, the
Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Michaela Sjgren-Westlund/Anna Gravers
International Network on Juvenile Justice Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, E-mail: michaela
which since 1985 has investigated different Year founded
aspects of the implementation of international 1919
P.O. Box 88
standards on juvenile justice, submitting reports Geographical scope
CH - 1211 Genve 20
and detailed working papers on juvenile justice Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea
to the Commission on Human Rights; and, Bissau, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Sudan,
Tel.: +41 22 734 0558
second, the Committee on the Rights of the Sweden, Viet Nam, Yemen and other Middle
Fax: +41 22 740 1145
Child, which regularly raises juvenile justice Eastern and Eastern European countries
issues during its dialogue with reporting States, Activities
Contact person Cooperates with actors at local, national and
Anne Grandjean and which organized a thematic discussion on
the subject of the administration of juvenile international level; lobbies; trains personnel
Liaison Officer within the judicial system such as police,
justice in October 1995.
Year founded judges and social workers; conducts surveys
1997 on the situation of children in conflict with the
Web home page
Geographical scope law in nine countries; issues newsletter
To date, over 60 partners on all continents Provides access to a database containing concerning juvenile offenders.
Activities State reports and other information relating
Facilitates the exchange of information to the committees established to monitor the Web home page
between partners; helps coordinate initiatives implementation of the principal
in the field of juvenile justice; provides international human rights treaties, such as Contains list of publications, information
services to help States Parties to the CRC to the Human Rights Committee, about world congresses, international
meet international requirements (for example, the Committee against Torture and symposiums and other major events; and
training programmes); is part of the United the Committee on the Rights of the Child. links to other child-related sites.
Nations Coordination Panel for the provision A full-text search capacity is available.
of technical assistance in the field of juvenile
justice. Maintains a documentation centre
containing over 800 items related to juvenile Penal Reform International United Nations African Institute for
justice and an organizational database on 169 Clapham Road the Prevention of Crime and
organizations active in the field. London 8W9 0PU the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI)
United Kingdom P.O. Box 10590
Web home page
Tel.: +44 171 840 6413 Kampala
Contains history and aims of Network, a Fax: +44 171 582 4396 Uganda
schedule of meetings and information about E-mail: Tel.: +256 41 221 119 or 285 236
Network partners. Contact person Fax: +256 41 222 628
Helen Towner E-mail:
Head of Secretariat Contact persons
Year founded Isam E. Abugideri
Office of the United Nations 1989 Director
High Commissioner for Human Rights Geographical scope Year founded
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

Palais des Nations Mainly developing countries. Sub-Saharan 1989

CH - 1211 Genve 10 Africa, Latin America, Central America, Geographical scope
Switzerland Eastern Europe. Offices in Paris and Africa
Tel.: +41 22 917 3975 Puerto Rico Activities
Fax: +41 22 917 0212 Activities Carries out training and human resources
Contact persons Works with national NGOs to set up projects to development activities and comparative
Luca Lupoli, Officer, Research and Right to promote better treatment of prisoners; action-oriented research. Undertakes policy
Development Branch promotes international norms and guidelines development and provides advisory services
20 E-mail: on human rights and criminal justice; to governments on request.

Information services Year founded

Provides information and documentation 1975 Web home page
services aimed at raising consciousness of law Geographical scope
Contains full text of UN documents, various
enforcement personnel and bringing about the Latin America statistical sources, country information, laws,
observance of human rights in the Activities treaties and constitutions, and access to
administration of criminal justice. Research, technical assistance, particularly in numerous other UN and non-UN information
Disseminates knowledge and information on relation to children in prison. Compiles and sources in criminal justice and crime
contemporary crime levels. makes available data on countries of the prevention.

United Nations Interregional Crime

Web home page World Organisation Against Torture
and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) P.O. Box 119
Via Giulia 52 Contains details of programmes and 37-39 Rue de Vermont
00186 Rome projects in five areas (citizen safety, CH - 1211 Genve 20 CIC
Italy environmental offences and
Tel.: +39 6 687 7437 misdemeanours, public corruption, new
forms of organized crime, and Tel.: +41 22 733 3140
Fax: +39 6 689 2638 Fax: +41 22 733 1051
improvements in the administration of
E-mail: E-mail: OMCT@IPROLINK.CH
justice), publications and current agenda.
Contact persons Contact person
Herman F. Woltring Ben Schonveld
Director Projects Manager
Renaud Vill United Nations Office at Vienna Year founded
Associate Research Officer Centre for International Crime Prevention 1988
Year founded Geographical scope
Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
1968 (under the name of UNSDRI) Global
Vienna International Centre Activities
Geographical scope Wagramerstrasse 5 The worlds largest network of human rights
Worldwide P.O. Box 500 organizations fighting against all forms of
A-1400 Vienna torture; cruel, inhuman or degrading
As the interregional institute of the United treatment; forced disappearances; summary
Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice executions or other more subtle forms of
Tel.: +43 1 21345 4269
Programme Network, carries out research, violent repression. Issues urgent appeals
training and technical cooperation activities in Fax: +43 1 21345 5898
about torture involving children. Country
the field of crime prevention and criminal Contact persons reports, originally submitted to the Committee
justice; implements activities related to Ralph Krech on the Rights of the Child, highlight de facto
minority youth and the administration of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer situations of grave abuse of childrens rights
juvenile justice. Maintains a large library, E-mail: and legislative measures that carry risks for
which is available for consultation. Tel: +43 1 21345 4283 children, and provide critiques of reports
Vincent Del Buono presented by the governments in question.
Web home page Interregional Adviser Web home page
Contains news about ongoing and
Tel: +43 1 21345 4194 Contains list of programmes and
completed projects, conferences, meetings.
Also lists publications and information about Year founded publications as well as information about its
long-distance services and facilities (by The Centre was created on 1 November 1997. It Childrens Programme, including urgent
mail/fax and Internet). is the successor to the Crime Prevention and appeals on behalf of children, urgent
assistance to child victims and reports to the
Criminal Justice Division. Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Geographical scope
United Nations Latin American Institute for Worldwide
the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment Activities
of Offenders (ILANUD) Acts as coordinator and arbiter of the United
Calle 17, Avenidas 6 y 8 Nations Crime and Justice Information Network On the Web
Edificio del OIJ (UNCJIN). Objectives of UNCJIN are to facilitate
Sponsored by the National Institute of Justice
Corte Suprema de Justicia information exchange and interlinkages of the U.S. Department of Justice and the
3er. piso. ILANUD among policy makers, planners, practitioners, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

P.O. Box 10071-1000 scholars and other experts, as well as United Enforcement Affairs of the U.S. Department
San Jos Nations national correspondents and research of State, UNOJUST is a technical assistance
Costa Rica programme designed to help member
institutions; to provide gateways permitting the nations use the Internet to share criminal
Tel.: +506 257 5826
transfer of knowledge, including research justice knowledge. Access to searchable
Fax: +506 233 7175
E-mail: results; to link criminal justice documentation archives, databank, and wealth of other
centres and libraries around the world; and to information, including reports, statistics and
Contact person
articles related to juvenile justice.
Dr. Rodrigo Pars Steffens establish and expand computerized national
Director General and local criminal justice systems. 21
Information sources

Selected readings 23
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Juvenile
Justice System, Special Issue, 1994.
Alder, C. and Wundersitz, J., Family Conferencing and Juvenile 24
Garapon, A. and Salas, D., Justice des mineurs: volution dun
Justice: The Way Forward or Misplaced Optimism?, Australian modle, Librairie gnrale de droit et de jurisprudence, Paris, 1995.
Institute of Criminology, Canberra, 1994.
Garca Mendez, E., Main Issues Concerning Children in Detention,
Amnesty International, United States of America, The Death UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean,
Penalty and Juvenile Offenders, Amnesty International, London, Bogot, 1995.
3 Derecho de la infancia-adolescencia en Amrica Latina: de la
Asquith, S., A Review of Juvenile Justice in Central and Eastern
situacin irregular a la proteccin integral, second edition, Forum
Europe, Council of Europe, Directorate of Legal Affairs, Strasbourg,
Pacis and UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America, Ibagu,
Colombia, 1997.
(ed.), Children and Young People in Conflict with the Law, 27
Jessica Kingsley, London, 1996. Garrido de Paula, P. A., Menores, direito e justia: apontamentos
para um novo direito das crianas e adolescentes, Editora Revista
and Hill, M., Justice for Children, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, dos Tribunais, So Paulo, 1989.
1993. 28
Great Britain, Home Office, Research and Planning Unit, George
Atkinson, L., Gerull, S. and Australian Institute of Criminology, Mair, Intensive Probation in England and Wales: Evaluation,
National Conference on Juvenile Justice (Canberra, 22-24 HMSO, London, 1994.
September 1992), AIC, Canberra, 1993. 29
Howard League for Penal Reform, Child Offenders: UK and
Bartolomei, M. L., Nios/nias adolescentes en conflicto con la ley: International Practice, HLPR, London, 1995.
un estudio sobre la situacin en el Peru, Rdda Barnen, Stockholm, 30
1997. Human Rights Watch, Childrens Rights Project, Guatemalas
Forgotten Children: Police Violence and Abuses in Detention,
Baudoin, J.-M., Le juge des enfants: punir ou protger?, ESF di- HRWCRP, New York, 1997.
teurs, Paris, 1990. 31
Jamaica: Children Improperly Detained in Lockups, HRWCRP,
Bazemore, G. and Umbreit, M., Balanced and Restorative Justice, New York, 1994.
US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 32
Washington, DC, 1994. Juvenile Injustice: Police Abuse and Detention of Street Children
in Kenya, HRWCRP, New York, 1997.
Beau, C., La Convention internationale des droits de lenfant et le
traitement de la dlinquance juvnile en France, in International Idzumbuir Assop, J., La justice pour mineurs au Zaire: realits et
Review of Penal Law, Vol. 62, Nos. 3-4, 1991, pp. 903-914. perspectives, Editions Universitaires Africaines, Kinshasa, 1994.
Bonin, Y., Enfants et prison: deux images difficiles associer, Stock, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Annual Report
Paris, 1990. 1997, IHF, Helsinki, 1997.
Boswell, G., Violent Victims: The Prevalence of Abuse and Loss in 35
International Prison Watch, Detention Conditions for People in
the Lives of 53 Offenders, The Princes Trust, London, 1995. Prison, OIP, Lyons, 1994.
Brown, B. and McElrea, F. (eds.), The Youth Court in New Zealand: 36
Junger-Tas, J., Van Der Laan, P. and Boendermaker, L. (eds.), The
A Model of New Justice, Legal Research Foundation, Auckland, Future of the Juvenile Justice System, Acco, Leuven, 1991.
1994. 37
Juvenile Justice Drafting Consultancy, Juvenile Justice for South
Cappelaere, G. and Verhellen, E., Human Rights and Juvenile Africa: Proposals for Policy and Legislative Change, JJDC, Cape
Justice, University of Ghent, Centre for the Rights of the Child, forth- Town, 1994.
coming 1998.
Kibuka, E., Children and Juveniles in Detention: Application of
Cavadino, P. (ed.), Children Who Kill, International Association of United Nations Standards and Norms, in Children and Juveniles in
Juvenile and Family Court Magistrates, London, 1996. Detention: Application of Human Rights Standards: United Nations
Chesney Lind, M. and Shelden, R.G., Girls, Delinquency and Expert Group Meeting (Vienna, 30 October to 4 November 1994),
Juvenile Justice, Brooks Cole, Pacific Grove CA, 1992. Austrian Federal Ministry for Youth and Family, Vienna, 1995.
17 Krisberg, B. and Austin, J., Reinventing Juvenile Justice, Sage
Comisin de Derechos Humanos del Estado de Mxico, Derechos
humanos y sistemas comparados de justicia juvenil: coloquio inter- Publications Ltd., London, 1993.
nacional, CDH, Toluca, 1996. 40
Kuper, J., Treated with Humanity and Respect? Conditions for
Coppieterst Wallant, R., Jeunesse marginalise, espoir dAfrique: Young People in Custody, Childrens Legal Centre, London, 1993.
juge des enfants tmoigne, Harmattan, Paris, 1992. 41
Lacroix, A.-L., Rights of the Child in Senegal, World Organization
Doob, A. N. , Marinos, V. and Varma, K. N., Youth and Crime and Against Torture, Geneva, 1995.
the Youth Justice System in Canada, University of Toronto, Centre 42
Martin, F. M. and Murray, K. (eds.), The Scottish Juvenile Justice
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

of Criminology, Toronto, 1995. System, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1992.

Dunant, A., Pre-Trial Detention, International Association of 43
Maxwell, G. and Robertson, J., Responding to Child Offenders, in
Juvenile and Family Court Magistrates, Geneva, 1995. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, No. 6, July 1996.
Egypt, Ministry of Justice, Less Crime, More Justice and Security for 44
Morris, A. and Giller, H., Understanding Juvenile Justice, Croom
All, Imprimerie Nationale, Cairo, 1995. Helm Ltd., London, 1987.
Empey, L. (ed.), The Future of Childhood and Juvenile Justice, Muntingh, L. and Shapiro, R., Diversions: An Introduction to Diversion
22 University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1979. from the Criminal Justice System, NICROP, Cape Town, 1994.
Information sources
Naffine, N., Children in the Childrens Court: Can There be Rights General references
Without a Remedy?, in Alston, P., Parker, S. and Seymour, J. (eds.), 65
Children, Rights, and the Law, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992. Cantwell, N., Juvenile Justice in Namibia, unpublished draft, 1996.
OConnell, T., Wagga Wagga Juvenile Cautioning Program: It May The Promotion and Protection of Childrens Rights in Post-
Be the Way to Go, in Atkinson, L. and Gerull, S. (eds.), National Genocide Rwanda. July 1994-December 1996. Starting from Zero,
Conference on Juvenile Justice, New South Wales, 1993. UNICEF International Child Development Centre, Florence, 1997.
Paz y Paz, B., C. and Ramrez, G. L. R., Nios, nias y adolescentes Children in Prison, Observation and Recovery Centre: An
privados de libertad, IECCPG, Ciudad de Guatemala, 1993. Alternative to Imprisonment of Children in Estonia, Draft Working
Paper, undated.
Pinnock, D., Skelton, A. and Shapiro, R., New Juvenile Justice 68
Legislation for South Africa: Giving Children a Chance, 3 SACJ The Economist, Japan Rushes to Judgment, 5-11 July 1997, p. 61.
338, 1994. 69
Flekky, M. G., A Voice for Children: Speaking Out as Their
Rdda Barnen, Children in Conflict with the Law: A Survey of the Ombudsman, Jessica Kingsley, London, 1991.
Situation in Bangladesh, Rdda Barnen, Stockholm, 1995. 70
Golinowska, S., Balcerzak-Paradowska, B., Kolaczek, B. and
Children in Conflict with the Law: A Survey of the Situation in Glogosz, D., Children in Difficult Circumstances in Poland,
Pakistan, Rdda Barnen, Stockholm, 1995. Innocenti Occasional Paper, UNICEF International Child
Development Centre, December 1996.
Children in Conflict with the Law: A Survey of the Situation in 71
Vietnam, Rdda Barnen, Stockholm, 1995. The Guardian, 19 March 1997.
Rivera, S., La Nueva Justicia Penal Juvenil. La Experiencia de El International Childrens Rights Monitor, Vol. 11, No. 4, 4th quarter
Salvador, UNICEF, Corte Suprema de Justicia, Impresos 1994 and Vol. 12, No. 1, 1st quarter 1995, Children in jail: 20 country
Litogrficos, San Salvador, 1997. cases, citing International Prison Watch, Detention conditions for
people in prison, OIP, Lyons, 1994.
Roccatti, M. and Lara, E., Justicia juvenil en el Estado de Mxico y 73
anlisis comparativo con los sistemas de tratamiento de menores Juvenile Justice Home Page, A brief history of Juvenile Court, UNO-
de la Repblica Mexicana, Comisin de Derechos Humanos del JUST, at
Estado de Mxico, Toluca, 1996. 74
Lorenzo, R., Italy: Too Little Time and Space for Childhood,
Sarnecki, J., Recent Swedish Research into Reactions to Juvenile Innocenti Studies, UNICEF International Child Development
Crime, in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. XVIII, No. 3, 1994. Centre, Florence, 1992.
Schwartz, I. M. and Barton, W. H., Reforming Juvenile Detention: No Mortati, C. and Pugliatti, S., Corti giovanili, Enciclopedia del
More Hidden Closets, Ohio State University Press, Columbus, 1997. Diritto, Giuffr editore, Italy, 1976.
Singer, S. I., Recriminalizing Delinquency: Violent Juvenile Crime Murphy, L.W. and Kappelhoff, M., May 6, 1997 Letter to House
and Juvenile Justice Reform, Cambridge Criminology Series, Leadership on H.R. 3, the Juvenile Crime Control Act of 1997,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996. American Civil Liberties Union, Washington, DC, 1997.
Snare, A., Youth, Crime and Justice, Scandinavian Studies in The News, At Risk Abroad, Rawalpindi, 21 June 1997.
Criminology, Vol. 12, Norwegian University Press, Oslo, 1991. 78
UNICEF International Child Development Centre, Children at Risk
UNICEF International Child Development Centre, Children and in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises, UNICEF,
Violence, Innocenti Digest, No. 2, UNICEF, Florence, 1997, p. 14. Florence, 1997.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Centre for UNICEF Rwanda Children in Prison, Information Sheet, 1996.
Human Rights, Human Rights and Law Enforcement: A Manual on 80
United Nations Economic and Social Council, Commission on
Human Rights Training for the Police, UNHCHR, Geneva, 1997. Human Rights, Promotion, Protection and Restoration of Human
United Nations Office at Vienna, Crime Prevention and Criminal Rights at National, Regional and International Levels. Prevention of
Justice Division, United Nations Manual on Juvenile Justice, United Discrimination and Protection of Children: Human Rights and
Nations, Vienna, 1997. Youth. Situation of children deprived of their liberty,
E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/30, p. 5.
Van Bueren, G., Child-oriented Justice: An International Challenge 81
for Europe, International Journal of Law and the Family, Vol. 6, United Nations Economic and Social Council, Commission on
No. 1, 1992, pp. 381-399. Human Rights, Question of the Human Rights of All Persons
Subjected to any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. Children and
The Rights of Children Deprived of their Liberty, in Van Bueren, juveniles in detention, E/CN.4/1996/31, p. 11.
G., The International Law on the Rights of the Child, Martinus 82
Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, 1995, pp. 206-231. United Nations Expert meeting, Children in Trouble, Vienna, 1994.
Viccica, A.D., The Promotion and Protection of Childrens Rights 83
United Nations General Assembly resolution 40/33, 29 November
through Development and Recognition of an International Notion of 1985.
Juvenile Justice and its Child-Centred Perspective in the United 84
Nations, Nordic Journal of International Law, Vol. 58, No. 1, 1989, United Nations General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

pp. 68-93. 1990, emphasis added.

Van Bueren, G., in Law & Policy, 17.4, October 1995.

Article 37
States Parties shall ensure that:
a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capi-
tal punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by per-
sons below eighteen years of age;
b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a
child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest
appropriate period of time;
c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human per-
The UNICEF International Child Development Centre, often
son, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child referred to as the Innocenti Centre, was established in Florence,
deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the childs best interest not to do so and Italy, in 1988. The Centre undertakes and promotes policy
shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in excep- analysis and applied research, provides a forum for international
tional circumstances; professional exchanges of experiences, and disseminates ideas
and research results emanating from its activities. On a highly
d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assis-
selective basis, in areas of programme relevance, the Centre also
tance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other provides training and capacity-building opportunities for
competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action. UNICEF staff and professionals in other institutions with which
UNICEF cooperates. The Centre is housed within the Spedale degli
Article 40 Innocenti, a foundling hospital that has been serving abandoned or
needy children since 1445. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the
1 States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal Spedale is one of the outstanding architectural works of the early
law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the childs sense of dignity and worth, which rein- European Renaissance.
forces the childs respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the Extracts from this publication may be freely reproduced
childs age and the desirability of promoting the childs reintegration and the childs assuming a constructive role in provided that due acknowledgment is given to the source and to
society. UNICEF.
2 To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of international instruments, States Parties shall, in particu- The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not
lar, ensure that: necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNICEF.
a) No child shall be alleged as, be accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law by reason of acts or This issue of the Innocenti Digest has been compiled
omissions that were not prohibited by national or international law at the time they were committed; principally by Nigel Cantwell, who is currently based at ICDC.
b) Every child alleged as or accused of having infringed the penal law has at least the following guarantees: The founder of Defence for Children International (DCI), he
participated actively in the drafting of the CRC and JDLs and has
i) To be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;
carried out many consultancies for UNICEF on juvenile justice
ii) To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her and other childrens rights issues.
parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation
The Centre is grateful to the experts who reviewed the
of his or her defence; various drafts of this publication: particularly Stewart Asquith,
iii) To have the matter determined without delay by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial Geert Cappelaere, Ralph Krech and Ann Skelton. It would also
body in a fair hearing according to law, in the presence of legal or other appropriate assistance and, unless it is like to thank all of the organizations that provided information
considered not to be in the best interest of the child, in particular, taking into account his or her age or situa- for the Links section of the Digest, and in particular DCI and the
United Nations Office in Vienna, which shared their resource
tion, his or her parents or legal guardians; databases with us.
iv) Not to be compelled to give testimony or to confess guilt; to examine or have examined adverse witnesses and
Design: Bernard Chazine
to obtain the participation and examination of witnesses on his or her behalf under conditions of equality; Layout and photolithography: Bernard & Co. Siena/Italy
v) If considered to have infringed the penal law, to have this decision and any measures imposed in consequence Printed by: Arti Grafiche Ticci - Siena/Italy
thereof reviewed by a higher competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body according to law; ISSN 10283528
vi) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if the child cannot understand or speak the language used; January 1998
vii) To have his or her privacy fully respected at all stages of the proceedings.
3. States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically
applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law, and, in particular:
a) The establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe
the penal law; ID 1: Ombudswork for Children, 1997, 20 pp.
b) Whenever appropriate and desirable, measures for dealing with such children without resorting to judicial proceed- This Digest provides information on the recent and expand-
ings, providing that human rights and legal safeguards are fully respected. ing phenomenon of ombudsmen/commissioners for chil-
dren. It discusses the history of ombudswork; patterns in the
4 A variety of dispositions, such as care, guidance and supervision orders; counselling; probation; foster care; educa- origin, development, mandate and status of the different
tion and vocational training programmes and other alternatives to institutional care shall be available to ensure that types of ombudsman offices; the functions of ombudswork
children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to their well-being and proportionate both to their circumstances in theory and practice; and characteristics essential to this
and the offence. kind of work. It ends with details of 16 existing ombuds-
men/commissioners for children and a selected bibliography
on the topic.
Our next Innocenti Digest will be on inclusive education for children with disabilities.
We invite comments on the Digest and suggestions on how it could be improved as an information tool. ID 2: Children and Violence, 1997, 24 pp.
This Digest explores violence by and to children, using the
Innocenti Digest 3 - Juvenile Justice

How to order: When ordering this Digest, please use Code ID3. Up to 25 copies of this issue and past issues are avail- Convention on the Rights of the Child as its framework. The
able free of charge. Bulk orders over 25 copies are available at the cost of distribution and handling; please contact us focus is on interpersonal violence, both intrafamilial and
extrafamilial. Sexual abuse and exploitation, childrens
for a written quotation. Send requests to: involvement in armed conflict, the prevalence of violence
Distribution, International Child Development Centre involving children and the reasons that children become vio-
Piazza SS. Annunziata, 12 lent are among the main issues explored. The Digest ends
50122 Florence, Italy with a discussion on strategies for combating violence
involving children. Contact and programme details of
Tel.: +39 55 234 5258 regional and international NGOs working in this area, and a
Fax: +39 55 244 817 compilation of selected readings are also provided.
24 E-mail: