Juvenile Justice system in Kosovo kicks off
Joint press release of European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) and UNICEF
PRISTINA, 22 March 2007 - The European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) and UNICEF jointly launch a 1,2 million Euro project to support the development of the juvenile justice system in Kosovo. The project is a partnership between the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), UNICEF, the Provisional Institutions of Self Government, civil society and academia. Its goal is to establish a juvenile justice system in the UN Administered Province of Kosovo based on children’s rights and to promote a juvenile crime prevention programme.
Mr. Robert Fuderich, Head of UNICEF’s office in Kosovo stresses the importance of investing in juvenile justice. “European and international standards require that correctional facilities should be used for children only as a last resort and responses to juvenile crime emphasize rehabilitation rather than punishment.” Kosovo has a Juvenile Justice code which introduces innovations to the justice system including alternative sanctions and diversion measures. These measures are new to Kosovo’s lawyers, police, justice and social welfare professionals. The project will help officials ensure that children’s rights are respected in the justice system. Research, training and new operating procedures will be developed based on good practices in European Union Member States. In partnership with Terre Des Hommes, the Human Rights Centre at Pristina University and others, the project will also introduce innovative approaches to prevent children from becoming involved in crime.
The effort is welcomed by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Jonuz Salihaj, who said “Kosovo has a modern Juvenile Justice Code. It is aligned with international standards, but we need support to implement the law. Our staff is motivated and we are looking forward to cooperating with UNICEF as the specialized agency for children.”
Mr. Thierry Bernard-Guele, Head of the European Agency for Reconstruction in Kosovo, added that this project is one of the components of the Agency’s comprehensive support to the justice sector in Kosovo after the transfer of competencies from UNMIK Pillar I to local institutions. Overall, the Agency has made available 40 million Euro in the core sector Justice and Home Affairs.
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