Juvenile Defendant's Rights in Criminal Proceedings

12 Dec, 2016

Under the Juvenile Justice Code, enacted on January 1, 2016, various agencies of the criminal justice system must establish detailed procedures and practices with regard to children in conflict with the law.

Today, the Initiative for the Rehabilitation of Vulnerable Groups, with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation and in cooperation with the Public Defender’s Office, published the results of research on the effective use of the Code in practice. The research concerns the legal status of juvenile defendants in criminal proceedings.  It assesses whether juveniles’ rights are protected from the moment of their detention until the court’s decision, as well as analyzes existing shortcomings and makes recommendations for state agencies.

The research revealed certain shortcomings both at the legislative level and in practice.  The most problematic issues are detention and criminal prosecution, right to defense, involvement of members of the procedural team and in general, existence of inconsistent practices in different directions.

One of the most significant gaps revealed by the research is a failure in the quality control system.  In addition, vision of the Government, as outlined in state policy documents, is quite ambiguous with regard to the development of this sector.