September 2008, Reform of Kyrgyz juvenile justice
In September 2008 draft legislation on Kyrgyzstan’s juvenile justice system was once more reviewed by a UNICEF-contracted international expert.
Prof. Carolyn Hamilton, an internally recognized legal advisor on child-related legislation, assessed the draft legislation’s correspondence with international paradigms. She also provided technical advice on the implementation of a pilot project based on the new laws, which will be implemented in Sverdlovsk raion in Bishkek. Sverdlovsk raion has the highest juvenile crime rate in the country.
The new legislation will replace laws dating back to the Soviet period, a time when imprisonment was widely regarded as the only realistic response to child crime. The draft legislation is based on the concept of restorative justice and treats detention as the measure of last resort.
The reform of the juvenile justice system is a priority issue and enjoys Presidential support: it was the President who in 2006 appointed the legal professionals working on the reform.