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Commissioner calls on Italy not to weaken the protection of children’s rights in the justice system

Letter
Strasbourg 16/05/2017
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Commissioner calls on Italy not to weaken the protection of children’s rights in the justice system

In a letter addressed to the President of the Italian Senate published today, the Commissioner expresses concerns about the bill on the efficiency of civil judicial proceedings. The planned transfer of juvenile justice competencies from specialised to ordinary courts and prosecution services might weaken the protection of the rights of children who come into contact with judicial authorities.

The Commissioner underscores that merging specialised services within the ordinary justice system may reduce Italy’s ability to fulfill its obligation to take into account the child’s best interests in the justice system and would therefore be a step in the wrong direction.

“Experience in different countries shows that children’s rights are best met in a system where justice is delivered by specialised professionals with exclusive competencies, as is currently the case in Italy. Transferring the competencies of dedicated courts and prosecutors to ordinary judicial bodies is likely to lead to a dilution of the capacity of judges and prosecutors to pay adequate and specific attention to children’s needs.  There is also a risk that the substantial experience and knowledge accumulated by juvenile justice professionals in Italy for decades might in part be lost” writes the Commissioner.