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Juvenile justice topic of first regional conference of judges and prosecutors in South East Europe

SKOPJE, 28 November 2008 - UNICEF, Representative, Mr. Sheldon Yett and Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr. Ibrahim Ibrahimi opened today a conference to discuss issues related to juvenile justice and making judicial reform work for children. Judges and other professionals from Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro have come to Skopje for the conference

“The aim of juvenile justice systems should be the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of those children in conflict with the law, not their punishment,” said UNICEF Country Representative Mr. Sheldon Yett. “The police, the courts and other pillars of justice must be sensitive to the needs of children.” 

The conference has been organised as part of the Government’s national plan for action for implementation of the juvenile justice law. During the conference experts will discuss the main characteristics of procedures for working with juveniles in the domestic courts, share experiences in working with children at risk, and best practices in implementing of alternative measure and mediation.

“This conference is a continuation of the activities that the Academy is implementing to support juvenile justice reform,” highlighted Ms. Aneta Arnaudova, Director of the Academy for Training of Judges and Prosecutors. “Basic training for judges and prosecutors has been completed and a specialized training module, to be included in the continual education programme, is also currently being developed.”

UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in establishing a child focused justice system.  This includes support to develop juvenile justice by-laws and regulations in line with international standards and consistent with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and strengthening community based support to parents with children in conflict with the law.

According to the Convention of the Rights of the Child, States should promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children accused of violating the law. Among other measures, “Child friendly” judicial systems should protect children’s privacy in court proceedings, ensure that children are not detained with adult offenders and have staff that are specifically trained and are knowledgeable of children’s rights. 

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For additional information please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231-150,




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