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The controversial age of criminal responsibility in the juvenile justice system

The Commissioner went on to say that: Outside the UK the treatment of child offenders has also drawn criticism. First of all, they were children.

Debate on minimum age of criminal responsibility inevitable

They treated them like adults. They were children and while the crime was horrific, they were still only 10-year-olds. There is 17 years in between.

  • In the meantime, much could be learned by examining how other youth justice models and CJSs have approached the issue;
  • They range from a very low level of age 7 or 8 to the commendable high level of age 14 or 16;
  • Moral Capacity I think that it should be 10 and up because kids get away with a lot;
  • On what basis was the minimum age raised in 1984?

What happened in that period of time they were in detention? What happened to them during detention? I honestly believe, and this has been my experience, that there is no such thing as a totally evil person.

Ireland, Scotland or the Isle of Man. In its most recent report it said: It also recommends that the State party: Age and children in conflict with the law The minimum age of criminal responsibility 30. The reports submitted by States parties show the existence of a wide range of minimum ages of criminal responsibility. They range from a very low level of age 7 or 8 to the commendable high level of age 14 or 16.

Quite a few States parties use two minimum ages of criminal responsibility. Children in conflict with the law who at the time of the commission of the crime are at or above the lower minimum age but below the higher minimum age are assumed to be criminally responsible only if they have the required maturity in that regard. In the light of this wide range of minimum ages for criminal responsibility the Committee feels that there is a need to provide the States parties with clear guidance and recommendations regarding the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Article 40 3 of CRC requires States parties to seek to promote, inter alia, the establishment of a minimum age below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law, but does not mention a specific minimum age in this regard. The committee understands this provision as an obligation for States parties to set a minimum age of criminal responsibility MACR.

This minimum age means the following: Even very young children do have the capacity to infringe the penal law but the controversial age of criminal responsibility in the juvenile justice system they commit an offence when below MACR the irrefutable assumption is that they cannot be formally charged and held responsible in a penal law procedure.

But these procedures, including the final outcome, must be in full compliance with the principles and provisions of CRC as elaborated in the present general comment. Rule 4 of the Beijing Rules recommends that the beginning of MACR shall not be fixed at too low an age level, bearing in mind the facts of emotional, mental and intellectual maturity. From these recommendations, it can be concluded that a minimum age of criminal responsibility below the age of 12 years is considered by the Committee not to be internationally acceptable.

  1. With the passing of Bill C-10 came new provisions for stiffer penalties for young offenders. The Committee strongly recommends that States parties set a MACR that does not allow, by way of exception, the use of a lower age.
  2. Ironically, research has shown that girls mature at a younger age than boys!
  3. This minimum age means the following.
  4. In this regard, States parties should inform the Committee in their reports in specific detail how children below the MACR set in their laws are treated when they are recognized as having infringed the penal law, or are alleged as or accused of having done so, and what kinds of legal safeguards are in place to ensure that their treatment is as fair and just as that of children at or above MACR. If there is no proof of age and it cannot be established that the child is at or above the MACR, the child shall not be held criminally responsible see also paragraph 39 below.
  5. Also in contrast to Canada, in the United States, each state is responsible for setting its own age limits for criminal responsibility.

States parties are encouraged to increase their lower MACR to the age of 12 years as the absolute minimum age and to continue to increase it to a higher age level. In this regard, States parties should inform the Committee in their reports in specific detail how children below the MACR set in their laws are treated when they are recognized as having infringed the penal law, or are alleged as or accused of having done so, and what kinds of legal safeguards are in place to ensure that their treatment is as fair and just as that of children at or above MACR.

  • The Committee notes with appreciation that some States parties allow for the application of the rules and regulations of juvenile justice to persons aged 18 and older, usually till the age of 21, either as a general rule or by way of exception;
  • By contrast the minimum age of responsibility in the UK is 10, France 13, and Brazil 18;
  • Also in contrast to Canada, in the United States, each state is responsible for setting its own age limits for criminal responsibility.

The Committee strongly recommends that States parties set a MACR that does not allow, by way of exception, the use of a lower age. If there is no proof of age and it cannot be established that the child is at or above the MACR, the child shall not be held criminally responsible see also paragraph 39 below. The upper age-limit for juvenile justice 36.

  1. However, the report noted that until 2012 Canada had been complying with the CRC guidelines.
  2. However, the report noted that until 2012 Canada had been complying with the CRC guidelines. What happened to them during detention?
  3. This minimum age means the following. A child without a provable date of birth is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of abuse and injustice regarding the family, work, education and labour, particularly within the juvenile justice system.
  4. In this article, I limit the discussion to the issue of age of criminal responsibility for several reasons. The court was grounded on the British doctrine of parens patriae the State as parent.
  5. What happened to them during detention?

The Committee also wishes to draw the attention of States parties to the upper age-limit for the application of the rules of juvenile justice. These special rules — in terms both of special procedural rules and of rules for diversion and special measures — should apply, starting at the MACR set in the country, for all children who, at the time of their alleged commission of an offence or act punishable under the criminal lawhave not yet reached the age of 18 years.

Age of Criminal Responsibility: An illusive dilemma

The Committee wishes to remind States parties that they have recognized the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in accordance with the provisions of article 40 of CRC.

This means that every person under the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged commission of an offence must be treated in accordance with the rules of juvenile justice. The Committee, therefore, recommends that those States parties which limit the applicability of their juvenile justice rules to children under the age of 16 or lower years, or which allow by way of exception that 16 or 17-year-old children are treated as adult criminals, change their laws with a view to achieving a non-discriminatory full application of their juvenile justice rules to all persons under the age of 18 years.

The Committee notes with appreciation that some States parties allow for the application of the rules and regulations of juvenile justice to persons aged 18 and older, usually till the age of 21, either as a general rule or by way of exception.

Finally, the Committee wishes to emphasize the fact that it is crucial for the full implementation of article 7 of CRC requiring, inter alia, that every child shall be registered immediately after birth to set age-limits one way or another, which is the case for all States parties. A child without a provable date of birth is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of abuse and injustice regarding the family, work, education and labour, particularly within the juvenile justice system.

  • It was based on the fact that most children leave elementary school and are thought to have the mental capacity to understand right from wrong at around age 12;
  • The Committee strongly recommends that States parties set a MACR that does not allow, by way of exception, the use of a lower age;
  • It also recommends that the State party;
  • The upper age-limit for juvenile justice 36.