10-11 June, 2017. Borjomi, Georgia. Judges working on juvenile cases attended a two-day meeting on implementation of the Juvenile Justice Code and in particular, diversion issues.
The meeting was held within the framework of the “Supporting Implementation of the Juvenile Justice Code through Enhancement of Diversion Programmes” project carried out by the Crime Prevention Centre of the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF with the financial support of the EU. Laila Omar Gad, UNICEF Representative in Georgia, Renate Winter, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Head of the EU project, Nino Gvenetadze, Chair of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Mikheil Sarjveladze, Deputy Justice Minister of Georgia, Tatia Khocholava, Director of the Crime Prevention Centre of the Ministry of Justice, and Zaza Grigolia, Head of the National Probation Agency attended the meeting.
The aforementioned project aims to support the Juvenile Justice System and implementation of the Juvenile Justice Code through enhancement of the diversion and mediation programmes. Under the Juvenile Justice Code judges are allowed to divert juveniles in conflict with the law from criminal responsibility.
During the meeting representatives of the agencies involved in the diversion programme provided to judges detailed information on the process, procedures and specifics of diversion and new approaches to restorative justice; the participants discussed existing challenges and the ways to resolve them.
The Diversion and Mediation Programme gives persons under 21 in conflict with the law a significant opportunity, on certain conditions, to continue living without criminal record or conviction and take a step forward toward a successful future. Diversion and mediation are based on the concept of restorative justice that gives maximum consideration to the interests of an offender and a victim, helps young people in conflict with the law comprehend their acts and restore the damage with their own means. The programme contributes to crime prevention in the country.
The Juvenile Justice Code entered into force on 1 January 2016 and entailed significant changes to diversion mechanisms, aligning the programme with the principles of restorative justice. The role of the mediator has been expanded. Diversion can now also be applied to young offenders aged 18-21. As a result the number of diverted juveniles has considerably increased. In 2016, 784 persons under 21 were diverted, out of which 462 were children and 322 were young adults.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.