Launching of the Justice for Children project
PODGORICA, DECEMBER 13, 2012 – Duško Marković, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Predrag Bošković, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative and Mitja Drobnič, Head of EU Delegation in Montenegro successfully launched the “Justice for Children” Project on Thursday, December 13, 2012.
Through the „Justice for Children” Project juvenile justice reform will continue. In particular, capacities to implement the new Act on the Treatment of Juveniles in Criminal Proceedings will be strengthened.
Through the full implementation of this Act child friendly hearing procedure will be introduced in Montenegro. It will be applied not only to children in conflict with the law, but also to children victims and witnesses of crime.
„Although some legal solutions existed earlier, this Law represents a significant advancement in the field of juvenile justice, because it incorporates best international standards and practices in the field of juvenile justice, whose proper implementation will confirm the commitment of Montenegro to carry out radical reforms in this area,“ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Duško Marković said.
UNICEF Montenegro Representative highlighted the importance of treatment of children in conflict with the law in accordance with the international standards.
“According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children in conflict with the law have the right to treatment that promotes their sense of dignity and worth and takes into account their age, whilst aiming to integrate them into society and turn them away from a potential life of crime,” UNICEF Representative in Montenegro Benjamin Perks said.
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 again.
In order to properly address this problem, Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro, Mitja Drobnič said that juvenile justice professionals need to improve their skills, and to establish better communication with young offenders.
„With the support of UNICEF all juvenile justice professionals involved in the enforcement of this law will be trained to further enhance their skills and communication with children. They are expected to promote reconciliation and other alternative measures through extrajudicial mediation. Most importantly, all of this should lead to full reintegration of both former juvenile offenders and the victims into society,“ Head of EU Delegation in Montenegro, Mitja Drobnič concluded.
According to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, protection of the most vulnerable groups of children is a priority.
„For the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, of particular concern are the activities that are undertaken in order to protect those who are most vulnerable in our society, such as children with unacceptable behaviour, children in conflict with the law, abused and neglected children, children without parental care, children living in low income families and children with disabilities,“ Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Predrag Bošković said.
“Justice for children” project will be implemented by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, with technical support from UNICEF. The project is financially supported with 500.000 euros from the EU.