Juvenile justice system set up in Kosovo with UN help

23 March 2007

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has teamed up with the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) to support the development of the juvenile justice system in UN-administered Kosovo, focusing on rehabilitation rather than prison.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has teamed up with the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) to support the development of the juvenile justice system in UN-administered Kosovo, focusing on rehabilitation rather than prison.

“European and international standards require that correctional facilities should be used for children only as a last resort and responses to juvenile crime emphasize rehabilitation rather than punishment,” UNICEF representative in Kosovo Robert Fuderich said of the 1.2 million Euro project, a partnership between the two agencies, the provisional self-government authorities, civil society and academia.

It will help officials ensure that children’s rights are respected in the justice system. Research, training and new operating procedures will be developed based on good practices in European Union Member States.

In partnership with Terre Des Hommes, a network of 11 national organizations promoting children’s rights, the Human Rights Centre at Pristina University and others, the project will also introduce innovative approaches to prevent children from becoming involved in crime.

The effort is welcomed by Justice Minister Jonuz Salihaj. “Kosovo has a modern Juvenile Justice Code. It is aligned with international standards, but we need support to implement the law. Our staff is motivated and we are looking forward to cooperating with UNICEF as the specialized agency for children,” he said.

The UN has run the Albanian-majority Serbian province ever since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting.

 

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