Ministry Of Justice, Unicef And EC Support Discussions On The First Draft Of Montenegro’s Juvenile Justice Law
PODGORICA, July 24, 2009 – The first draft of the Juvenile Justice Law, which introduces a separate juvenile justice system in Montenegro, was discussed at the round table for judiciary professionals and representatives of the relevant local and international organizations organized by the Ministry of Justice, UNICEF and the Delegation of European Commission in Montenegro on Friday, July 24.
With the adoption of the Juvenile Justice Law in near future, Montenegro will meet the international standards prescribed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). According to the Article 40 of this most ratified human rights treaty, children in conflict with the law have the right to treatment that promotes their sense of dignity and worth, takes into account their age and aims at their reintegration into society. Placing these children in a closed facility should be a measure of last resort.
“Legislative reform is a crucial step in improving the juvenile judicial system and I am particularly pleased that today we are able to offer to you a draft of the first comprehensive juvenile justice law in Montenegro. I am sure that this law will help ensure that the rights of the child are fully taken into account.“ said Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative while opening the discussions of the first draft of Juvenile Justice Law.
According to Clive Rumbold, Chief of Political Section in EC Delegation to Montenegro, “juvenile justice reform will contribute to the EU integration of Montenegro” and the new law should help raise awareness of citizens that juveniles in conflict with the law deserve a second chance.
Miras Radovic, Minister of Justice, emphasized that the new law will prefer application of alternative measures for juveniles in conflict with the law, such as mediation for example, instead of the regular judicial proceedings. In this way, there is greater chance for successful rehabilitation and reintegration of juveniles into the society. Also, “placing juveniles in a closed facility should be an extraordinary measure of last resort” according to Mr. Radovic.
Vesna Medenica, President of the Supreme Court, stressed out the importance of prevention measures for children at risk to come into the conflict with the law. “We should do everything we can in order to prevent the juvenile to come into the conflict with the law and in case this still happens, we should provide the child with a chance to grow up and resocialize” concluded Ms. Medenica.
The round table is part of the project “Reform of the Juvenile Justice System” implemented by the government of Montenegro since October 2008 with help from UNICEF and financial support from the European Commission worth 500.000 euros. The project has three main objectives: to increase the number of children at risk benefiting from programmes that will prevent them from coming into conflict with the law; to improve the treatment of children who already came into conflict with the law; and to increase the availability of community-based alternatives like Victim/Offender Mediation and Community Based Work for Juveniles.