Strasbourg, 4 December 2009
CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS
principles of public prosecution as regards juvenile justice
Juvenile justice is one of the most challenging and complex field of action for prosecutors. Today the functions of juvenile prosecutors go beyond prosecution and proceedings as they should cope with other activities such as working with civic and social groups, school and the community itself to prevent juvenile crime.
This questionnaire addresses the prosecution of offences where a child is victim, witness or perpetrator. It primarily focuses on juveniles in the criminal justice system. Additionally it touches upon the place of children in civil cases and administrative proceedings.
The aim of this questionnaire is to find out the best practices and standards of the role of prosecutors in the field of juvenile justice in the Council of Europe member states. The replies to it will serve as a basis for the drafting of the Opinion N°5 of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors on “the principles of public prosecution as regards juvenile justice”.
This survey is aimed at the role of public prosecutors, therefore it is up to the members of the CCPE to reply to it in consultation, if need be, with the specialists in juvenile justice in their countries. This exercise is a separate one from the survey on juvenile justice organised in 2006 by the CDPC. Nevertheless, the part of the questionnaire “any other remarks and peculiarities” should contain information regarding major reforms that have been done or are under way concerning juvenile justice in the criminal field and the protection of juveniles in danger which may involve important changes since 2006 as to the role of prosecutors in this field.
I. Criminal justice system:
1. In your country, do public prosecutors have the duty to apply a general policy concerning juvenile justice? To do so, do they follow specific guidelines?
(If yes, please specify. Answers to this question should include, inter alia, the prevailing character of the policy between more repressive or more educative as well as the minimum age of criminal responsibility and the minimum age under which it is not permissible to imprison a child.)
2. Does your country’s criminal justice system provide for specialised public prosecutors for juveniles, entrusted with the implementation of specific laws and procedures? Do public prosecutors form, together with specialised judges for juveniles, a specialised entity within the court where, for instance, a general policy for juvenile justice is defined or discussed? Please give details.
3. If yes, how are the public prosecutors educated, selected and trained?
4. As regards victims of offences, can the public prosecutors apply specific procedures and means, in particular to collect testimonies? Moreover, are they free to choose ways of prosecuting or are their powers sometimes limited by the law, for instance as regards the choice of alternatives to prosecution or of the prison sentences requested for juveniles already condemned or second offenders? Does the law specify according to the juvenile concerned between these prosecution choices, for prison, for some types of sentences? If yes, please specify.
5. What is the specific role of public prosecutors in custody before a court hearing, during the hearing and in the detention after conviction, in cases involving juveniles?
6. What is the role played by public prosecutors in the partnership with local social and administrative agencies working in the field of juvenile delinquency? For instance, are public prosecutors involved in the choices regarding the city policies and do they participate in instances where these partners sit together with elected persons (such as city mayors), schools, teachers, etc.?
7. In practice, what is the role played by public prosecutors in the coordination and cooperation of the main actors involved in the investigation process (such as the child protection services, police, prosecutors, courts, the medical profession, others)? Please specify.
II. Civil justice system and administrative proceedings:
8. What is the role of public prosecutors as regards access to justice for juveniles? Please specify between juveniles in danger as regards their education, the living conditions, etc., for whom a judicial protection is needed, and juveniles who are victims of offences and who claim for compensation.
9. In your country, are there situations affecting juveniles where public prosecutors can initiate ex-officio investigations? If yes, please specify.
10. What is the specific role of public prosecutors in applying protective and educative measures towards juveniles? Within the framework, are public prosecutors in relations with other instances or bodies such as, for instance, community homes, schools and how are their contacts with these bodies organised (designated correspondents, free telephone line, etc)?
11. What is the role of public prosecutors in child abduction cases by one parent and other family related cases?
12. What is the role of prosecutor in cases such as placement of juveniles in the name of their self protection or placement of children pending expulsion or any other case?
III. Any other remarks and peculiarities which could be indicated, according to you, and which concern the role of public prosecutors in your country vis-à-vis juvenile justice.