On December 10-19, 2012 the Penal Reform International (PRI) and Civil Society Institute (CSI) NGO organized the training sessions on the issue of juvenile justice for defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
The main goal of the training sessions was to present juvenile justice standards enshrined in the international treaties and share the best practice experience of various countries.
The trainer, Juvenile Justice Expert Muhammad Iman Ali analyzed the Armenian legislation in force from the perspective of its compliance with the obligations of Armenia under the international law. He highlighted the need to enforce the implementation of non-judicial and alternative measures in the cases of juveniles, such as counseling and probation services, referral to guardianship and guardians’, training programmes, which is also the requirement under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. .
The participants discussed the problems arising in the process ofeimplementation of the law. In particular, the participants expressed concerns in regard to cases when participation of a juvenile in a number of activities within the frames of the criminal case, including multiple interrogations, may have a negative impact on the psychological condition of the juvenile victim. The trainer presented the practice of various countries where a separate judicial proceeding is arranged for juvenile participants to the case, special conditions are provided in the court rooms, only closed sessions are conducted, the number of interrogations of juveniles is reduced to minimum.
The expert stressed out the importance of the social worker’s participation at all stages of the review of the case with involvement of a juvenile (during the investigation, trial and after). He stated that re-socialization of a juvenile offender is key in order to prevent the juvenile from committing offence again.
As a result of vivid discussions, the training participants agreed that there was a need for special treatment for juveniles. The importance of specialized defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges dealing with juvenile cases was highlighted.
Training session was organized in the frames of “Promotion of the Modern Concepts in the Administration of Juvenile Justice in Armenia” project.