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New Law on Juvenile Justice Emphasizes Prevention and Alternative Measures Before Resorting to Detention

Skopje, 27 March 2007:  The Ministry of Justice is conducting public debates on the draft law on Juvenile Justice. Developed with assistance from UNICEF, the new law incorporates all aspects of juvenile justice including the principle that promote prevention and alternative measures before resorting to detention.

“The adoption of the Law on Juvenile Justice is an integral part of the broader justice reform considered a pre-condition to accelerate the process of European integration,” stated Mr. Mihajlo Manevski, Minister of Justice. “This has been included in the package of laws that need to be adopted in the first half of 2007.”

The law was developed by a team of experts established by the Ministry of Justice and includes principles of protection of juveniles and their rights, promote reintegration into society; principles of restorative justice to help the child return to the status prior to the criminal act; and prevention of juvenile delinquency.

 “While the new law will provide the legal framework to protect the children’s rights, its implementation must also be given priority,” stated Dr. Waheed Hassan, UNICEF Country Representative a.i.. “Important resources are being allocated to the justice sector reform - juvenile justice needs to be part of this process.”

The rights of children in conflict with the law are regulated with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by the country in 1993.

UNICEF, OSCE and the Embassy of USA in Skopje provided financial support for all public debates. Three public debates have been held with participation from juvenile justice judges, public prosecutors, social workers, lawyers, representatives of NGOs, police and local self-government. The series of debates will end today in the Holiday Inn hotel (8:45 am- 5:00 pm) in Skopje.

For additional information, please contact:
Ubavka Matevska, Ministry of Justice, (02) 3110 443
Suzie Pappas Capovska, UNICEF Skopje, (02) 3231-150



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