Project Pro-Jus

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The national research report on "Procedural Rights of Juveniles Suspected or Accused in the European Union" has arrived. You can consult it here :

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in order to be able to participate effectively during his/her trial, a convicted person must be able to consult a lawyer, to talk to him in a understandable language, understand the content of the accusations against him/her, to be informed of the procedures functioning as well as the ability to help his/her lawyer to prepare for his/her defence.

A lack of knowledge of the language is often the first obstacle which can hinder the path of the foreign child suspected or convicted of committing an offence in terms of fair trial, of access to his/her rights and to information on the latter in a language which he/she can understand. Furthermore, the access to a trained and competent lawyer to defend foreign children’s rights is not easy, which can jeopardize the implementation of the rights to defence which have to be “practical and effective”.
By consequences, the children do not dispose of the knowledge, the ability and the autonomy needed to act in justice, and require the respect of their rights. This vulnerability can become worse because of the social and administrative context especially if the child is from a foreign nationality.


This project will last 18 months, and it started on the 1st September 2015. Thus it will end on February 28th 2017.


The global objective of the project is to make sure that the foreign children suspected or convinced in a criminal procedure benefit from procedural guarantees which are recognised in the European directives 2010/64 on the right to interpretation and translation, 2012/13 on the right to information and 2013/48 on the right to have access to a lawyer.

The project is implemented in 5 countries :
1. Belgium under the coordination of Defence for Children International- Belgium,
2. Spain under the coordination of Rights International Spain
3. France under the coordination of Hors La Rue
4. The Netherlands under the coordination of Defence for Children international- Netherlands
5. Hungary under the coordination of Terre des hommes (Coordinator of the project)
The objective of the study currently lead in the five countries is to assess the knowledge and the good implementation of the national laws transposing the European directives, through interviews of professionals of the law, interpreters and foreign children themselves.
The main goal of the project is to supply the law practitioners with tool to contribute to the harmonious implementation of the three directives of the EU and improve the access of foreign children to their rights in the frame of criminal procedures.


This project takes place in three phases:
A phase of research: it will analyses legal documents in all the participating countries. This will include laws, regulations, memorandum, and jurisprudence about foreign children involved in criminal procedures. Then a secondary research will focus on the national and regional instruments applicable in juvenile justice.

This phase of study includes interviews with practitioners of the law working with children suspected or convicted in criminal procedures, with foreign children who have been suspected or accused and evaluate their experience at the different stage of the procedures, and discussion groups with key informers or with foreign children, since this method often brings more results than individual interviews.
The information will be gathered and analysed in five national reports which then will be compiled in a regional comparative report which evaluate the good practices as well as their possible translation in other EU States.

the possibility given to foreign children to express their opinion about the way the lived the procedure will surely bring leads to find solutions to assure them a child-friendly treatment which takes into consideration their age and their culture. This will also allow children an exercise of the right of expression in matter directly related to them

A phase of awareness raising and advocacy at a national level
The national partners will be in charge of raising awareness of key participants in order to access to relevant cases, and pull the attention of the professionals concerned with the violation of the rights of the foreign children. The professionals, whose awareness had been raised, will be consulted during the whole duration of the process of implementation of the project in order to maximise the impact of the results and of the research.

Finally, the project will end with a phase awareness raising and advocacy at a regional level.
On the basis of the identification of the good practices, visits and exchanges will be organised between the practitioners of the law, during the last semester of the project (September 2016-February 2017), in the States where the treatment of foreign children suspected or convinced of having committed a crime will have been positively evaluated.

Funded by the European Commission

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European Commission. Criminal Justice Action Grants 2013

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