Assessment of the Juvenile Justice System in Iraq
During the review of the first Iraqi Country report on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Children 1998, the Child Rights Committee recommended that Iraq should take steps to reform the system of juvenile justice in the spirit of the Convention. Particular attention should be paid to 1) considering deprivation of liberty only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time, 2) to the protection of the rights of children deprived of their liberty, and 3) to due process of law and to the full independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Training programmes on relevant international standards should be organized for professionals involved with the juvenile justice system. The assessment of the juvenile justice system will focus on identification of strengths, weaknesses and gaps in the law and its application, compliance with international juvenile justice standards, assessment of the nature of pre-trial detention, services and conditions of detention, current rehabilitation, reintegration, and follow up services for boys and girls who are released from detention and/or reformatories. The outcomes of the assessment will be used to promote restorative justice, and develop strategic direction for juvenile justice in Iraq: Gather relevant laws, documents, related international standards, international good practice including good practice from the region and then carry out a literature review; Identify the overall aims and objectives of the juvenile justice system as currently designed; Develop the conceptual framework for the assessment of the juvenile justice system; Develop research tools, the protocols and training materials for the training of field researchers; Identify, contract and train field researchers according to a pre-set criterion agreed upon with UNICEF Iraq; Conduct the assessment focusing on the following: Examination of the causes of juvenile offending behavior and review of the profiles of boys and girls likely to get into contact with the law; Identification of the arresting authorities and analysis of the procedures used when arresting children and young people; Treatment of boys and girls by the justice system from arrest, to pre-trial detention, conditions in detention, trial, conviction or release, services and conditions in juvenile reformatories and aftercare and follow up services; Examination of how child and gender friendly the judicial process is and to what extent the law is applied in practice in the courts; Analysis of the data collection system, tracking and monitoring of boys and girls and young people in contact with the law; Budgeting and costing of the current juvenile justice programmes run by MOLSA and other key entities in the juvenile justice system; Analysis of child participation and gender issues in the juvenile justice system; Use of alternatives and diversion measures to deprivation of liberty; Examination of the roles of families and communities in the prevention of offending behaviour; Analysis of the understanding of the general public and law enforcement agents regarding young offenders and the effect of programmes for juvenile offenders; Analysis of the extent to which key actors in the juvenile justice system such as the juvenile police, juvenile judges, prosecutors, lawyers, social workers, psychologists are aware of juvenile justice standards, modern practices and procedures and to extent these are being applied; Data analysis and preparation of the draft report is based on the findings of the assessment to be shared with UNICEF for feedback. Finalize the report, translation in Arabic and English, presentation to the Steering Committee and final submission of the report.