A chance for juveniles in conflict with the law
Application of alternative measures like mediation gives children in conflict with the law a chance to reintegrate into the societyPODGORICA, 21 March 2011 - Mr. Dusko Markovic, Deputy Prime Minister for Political System, Foreign and Interior Policy and Minister of Justice, Ms. Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative, Ms. Vesna Medenica, President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro and Veselin Vuckovic, Deputy Supreme State Prosecutor will open a discussion on the implementation of the project “Promotion of Victim/Offender Mediation for Juveniles in Conflict with the Law” in the Green Room of the Hotel “Crna Gora” at 10.00am on Monday, March 21.
The Centre for Mediation and the Ministry of Justice implemented the four month project with UNICEF’s technical assistance and financial support of the One UN Country Funds. The project was implemented in Podgorica, Nikšić, Bar and Bijelo Polje. As a result, in each municipality, mediation started to be applied to cases involving children in conflict with the law.
Mediation provides prosecutors with an option to implement a conciliation procedure between the offender and the victim with the support from trained professionals. Mediation can be applied to criminal offences for which a fine or imprisonment up to five years is prescribed by the law.
Through mediation, children are diverted from the regular justice system, which can contribute to reduce the risk of reoffending in the future. Moreover, rehabilitation of the child is facilitated, while courts are disburdened and long judicial proceedings are avoided.
Research shows that classical judicial proceeding and putting children in closed or semi-closed institutions, in most cases do not prevent children from committing crimes. Juvenile offenders to whom such measures have been applied most often repeat violation of law.
International standards call upon the states to strive to apply special procedures and to give priority to alternative measures like mediation whenever it is possible in juvenile cases.
Currently there are 55 mediators in Montenegro licensed by the Ministry of Justice to conduct Victim/Offender Mediation. Prosecutors and judges who order this sort of alternative measure instead of a classical judicial proceeding can find the list of mediators at the website of the Centre for Mediation.
Through the reform of the juvenile justice system, most recently supported by UNICEF and the EU, Montenegro is heading towards implementing international standards in this area.
For additional information, please contact:
Ms. Jelena Perović