Supporting national efforts in enhancing prevention and diversion services for children in conflict with the law in Georgia
TBILISI. 23 March, 2011. A three year cooperation agreement signed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia and UNICEF aims at supporting national efforts in establishment of services for prevention of juvenile delinquency and for diversion of juvenile offenders from judicial proceedings. The new partnership, which is an integral part of the ongoing reform of the juvenile justice system in Georgia, also stipulates training of professionals from prosecution, defense and judiciary to make the diversion and prevention schemes fully operational.
In particular, the project will develop a national prevention strategy that addresses the early identification of vulnerable and at-risk behaviors amongst children and enhance collaboration and referral between law enforcement, education and social welfare sectors.
The diversion schemes will be established and Mediation and Restorative Justice Practices introduced in four major cities of Georgia: Tbilisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi. As a result, it is a plan to reduce by one third the number of children indicted and/or prosecuted in these selected locations through the use of Diversion schemes.
Professionals will be trained from prosecution, defense and judiciary spheres on how to exercise diversion schemes and specialized training on juvenile justice issues will be incorporated in standard curricula of universities to ensure that future professionals are fully knowledgeable of how to ensure justice for children.
The initiative is part of the National Strategy and Action plan on Juvenile Justice (2009-2013) and further enhances continued efforts of the Government of Georgia to reform a juvenile justice system so that it is focused on rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law into society.
UNICEF, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the European Union work closely with the Government of Georgia to support the reform process and to ensure that deprivation of liberty for juvenile offenders is only used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time, the system provides ample opportunities to deal with children in conflict with the law using social and educational measures, and the best interests of the children are at the forefront of the reform of the juvenile justice system.
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