4 July, 2019, Harare- The Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has launched the Pre-Trial Diversion (PTD) programme to provide children in conflict with the law with a more favourable criminal justice system which caters for their special needs.
The programme supported by UNICEF through the Child Protection Fund, seeks to keep children away from the harmful effects of the formal criminal and penal systems; address the reasons behind their offenses; and to provide victims of crime with re-dress and rehabilitative interventions that allow them to re-integrate into society.
“This national launch of the Pre-Trial Diversion Programme is very important because the country’s current criminal justice system, does not reflect the constitutional principles, values and special rights for children that are provided in the constitution,” said Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi ZIyambi.
The PTD programme came into existence in 2009 when UNICEF and Save the Children instituted a Pilot of the project which was then formally adopted by Government in 2016. Since then, over 3,000 children in conflict with the law have been diverted from the formal criminal justice system and supported in their rehabilitation. The programme will now be implemented in 17 Districts across Zimbabwe with a view to upscale to the country’s ten provinces, including the hardest to reach areas with the most vulnerable and marginalised populations.
“UNICEF’s mandate is to protect the rights of all children, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), said UNICEF Representative, Laylee Moshiri. “The need for the Pre-Trial Diversion Programme is provided for in Articles 37 and 40 of the Convention which reflect that children who have been in conflict with the law should not be treated cruelly and should be provided with legal assistance.”
The PTD programme is a component of the soon to be tabled Child Justice Bill (CJB) that seeks provide a separate legislation to provide a separate child justice system. This Bill will ensure that the country’s current criminal justice system reflects the constitutional rights of children, thus creating a suitable child justice system which reflects the constitutional rights of children.
The Child Protection Fund is a multi-donor pooled mechanism which is managed by UNICEF and funded by UKAID, Swedish Government’s SIDA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC). The Fund seeks to support the Government of Zimbabwe in the implementation of the National Action Plan III (2016-2020), to provide child sensitive social protection services that ensure a safe, secure and supportive environment that is conducive to child growth and development.
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.