Juvenile justice

Children may face the justice system, as victims, witnesses or even perpetrators. They may be asked to give their opinion on disputes between relatives or to speak out on personal issues. All in all, children are often involved in the operation of this "big machine" known as the judiciary. However, the juvenile justice system is rarely appropriate for children because they are often in a weak position, intimidated, or do not understand what is happening.

DCI-Belgium is working to make justice more accessible to children so that they better understand the system and rules in order to use the courts as a beneficial tool when their rights aren’t being respected. In addition, we want justice to be specialized and adapted when children commit crimes. They must therefore be "accountable for their actions" in court. International standards state that the juvenile justice system needs to be different from the adult justice system. It has to have an educational aim, enabling the reintegration of youth into society, which can be achieved through specific procedures. A child can’t be judged in the same way as an adult. Although this seems logical, many states do not implement this into their judicial system.

DCI-Belgium is involved in the analysis of systems and procedures, formulating proposals, participating in the training of individuals and calls to question in case of malfunctions. Finally, we take legal action if laws or practices contradict international standards.