Justice of children
There are two types of justice. Traditional justice is based on the beliefs and customs of communities that use them. Modern justice is established by the state; with particular vocabulary, it aims to punish those who violate the law and to give reparations to the victims.
There are many international rules for juvenile justice. They explain how the states should deal with children who come into contact with the law, regardless of the reason. But if all or almost all of the countries have accepted these rules, they are rarely implemented.
Children are involved with the justice system for many reasons: they may be in conflict with the law, but are also victims and witnesses of crime. Children in conflict with the law have often committed an infraction; representing ‘risk of delinquency’, they are victims of unjustified actions by the authorities or are clandestine or asylum seekers.
Juvenile justice deals with children. To enforce their rights, it must be adapted to their needs, whether or not they are criminally responsible. The well-being of children is paramount and every decision should be well thought out so as not to harm their interests or endanger them.
The judicial process must be fast with neutral decisions that take into account the seriousness of the offense and the context. For this, we need justice for children as a separate service with appropriately trained personnel. Received sentences can be very different depending on the nature of the offense, the circumstances, as well as the country where the trial is held. Ideally, it is best to avoid detention.
Around the world, children regularly are detained. The age and conditions of confinement are different and vary from one country to another. Their interests and needs are meant to be respected, yet they are often victim to neglect and abuse. In all cases, detention has a negative impact on the development and future of the children.
The effects of such a meeting focuses on children in conflict with the law who are deprived of their liberty. How the staff treats justice and decisions, fair or not, has a significant impact on the lives of children.
Written by : Marie Rivolet
Review by : Marc Lacrotte
Translated by : Allison Charette
Review by : Karen Strouse
Last update 22th may 2012