Ministry of Justice and UNICEF organized a conference on the assessment of juvenile justice reform
November 1, 2011 - Ministry of Justice in collaboration with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) organized a conference on November 1st to evaluate the reform of justice for children in Moldova. Participants in this event, including the Ministry of Justice, representatives of the courts, the General Prosecutor’s Office and other responsible institutions, national and foreign experts have analyzed international standards and practices in promoting reforms on justice for children and the impact of the reforms in the country. They also discussed issues related to implementation of juvenile probation service in Moldova and specialization of judges and prosecutors in justice for children.
On this occasion, it was stated that the legislative reforms for the protection of children’s rights in contact with the law promoted during the last years has made significant progress. Thus, the sentencing period of juveniles was reduced, the number of those placed outside the criminal justice system as early as possible is increasing, probation services have been established and prosecutors to examine cases concerning children were appointed.
Representatives of the Ministry of Justice stressed the important role of development partners in the justice sector reform for children. Thus, with UNICEF support, between 2008 and 2010 the National Institute of Justice made possible the training of 80 judges and 80 attorneys, while in 2011 other 71 attorneys were specialized in children's issues. It also was created a network of 10 public defenders that have assisted nearly 700 children from July 2009 to June 2010. The joint projects have developed and issued a set of explanatory guidelines for law enforcement of child probation. Additionally, a special guide about the treatment of juvenile detainees addressed to the staff of Penitentiary Institutions Department was developed and published.
However, conference participants also insisted on major concerns, which are reflected in statistical data analysis. Thus, the dynamics and structure of juvenile delinquency in recent years remains relatively constant, and according to the Ministry of Interior in the first half of 2011 victims of various types of crimes were over 650 children. Physical violence remains a widespread phenomenon in the family, often in such cases appearing children. In addition, cases of child abuse against other children are recorded annually.
In this sense, the conference participants formulated a set of conclusions and recommendations, including the equipment of courts, the prosecution, the police and probation offices with special rooms for hearing children, psychologists trained in this area, development and promotion of extrajudicial measures for dealing with children, ensuring that the rights of child victims and witnesses in the trial and punishment system are reviewed according to international standards.