On 22-24 October 2019, the IIJ convened in Malta a Sectoral Workshop for Judges under the IIJ Juvenile Justice Initiative – one of eight IIJ Core Initiatives. The Sectoral Workshop gathered 60 judges, investigators, prosecutors, defence counsels, correctional officers and other experts from 25 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. The purpose of the workshop was to build the capacity of judges to fairly and effectively handle terrorism cases involving juveniles while focusing on the best interest of the child, and to highlight the recommendations contained in the IIJ Judges’ Juvenile Justice Practitioners’ Note. In particular, the workshop provided a platform for practitioners to examine and apply to their respective national experiences the recommendations contained in the new IIJ Judges’ Juvenile Justice Practitioners’ Note (hereafter IIJ Judges’ Note), which support the operationalisation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Neuchâtel Memorandum on Good Practices for Juvenile Justice in a Counterterrorism Context (hereafter Neuchâtel Memorandum).
During the interactive workshop, practitioners were introduced for the first time to the IIJ Judges’ Note and its fifteen substantive recommendations on how judges can implement the Neuchâtel Memorandum, each illustrated with examples from countries served by the IIJ. In their discussions, participants focused on the role of judges in protecting all pre-trial, trial and post-trial juveniles’ rights, diversion, and juvenile-specific procedures, such as protecting the juveniles’ right to privacy. The practitioners engaged in robust and productive discussions during breakout sessions as they worked through four tailored hypothetical scenarios based on common challenges when handling cases involving juveniles in conflict with the law in a counterterrorism context. The hypothetical scenarios tracked the recommendations in the IIJ Judges’ Note and provided an opportunity for practitioners to discuss how their respective countries will use the IIJ Judges’ Note to implement and operationalise the Neuchâtel Memorandum good practices. At the core of the workshop, was the protection of the rights of the child and ensuring that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration, in accordance with international law and juvenile justice standards.
In concluding the three-day workshop, participants provided valuable input to further refine the IIJ Judges’ Note prior to finalisation.
The IIJ Judges’ Note is part of a broader project to develop sector-specific Practitioner Notes for judges, investigators, prosecutors, defence counsels, and detention officers. The notes will be published separately as well as in consolidated document in early 2020 and serve as a unique practitioner tool.
For more information on this workshop or the IIJ Juvenile Justice Initiative, please contact IIJ Program Manager Emerson Cachon.