defending rights and civil liberties

Juveniles and procedural rights

Handbook for legal professionals

The purpose of this handbook is to help criminal justice practitioners ensure that cases involving foreign child suspects are dealt with in accordance with European legislation as enshrined in the EU procedural rights Directives and the Council of Europe Child- friendly Justice Guidelines. It is in essence aimed at applying the principles and tenets of child-friendly justice to the situation of foreign child suspects. Two important clarifications are necessary:
(1) This handbook concerns foreign children suspected or accused of criminal offences and not children accused of administrative immigration-related offences;

(2) Human rights are inalienable and should not be granted on the basis of citizenship. While States have a sovereign right to protect their borders and determine their own laws, including over the admission, stay, or removal of non-nationals present in their country, they are obligated to govern migration flows in a way that upholds the rights of individuals within their territory and under their jurisdiction. The aforementioned EU Directives and COE Guidelines therefore apply to foreign children as much as they do to national children.
It is envisaged that this handbook may be used for a variety of advocacy, awareness- raising and educational purposes and may be useful to the cross-section of professionals involved in criminal justice including lawyers, prosecutors, judges, police, interpreters and NGOs. It can be used for advocacy and the promotion and harmonisation of standards across EU countries, for example, by highlighting the key statements which summarise the main provisions.

It can also be used to develop more in-depth training sessions when used in conjunction with the PRO-JUS Regional Comparative Report and National Reports which give more detailed country information on relevant national legislation and practice. In addition, the annexes to the handbook on a variety of related issues [child and adolescent development; interviewing techniques; code of ethics for interpreters; intercultural understanding and education; migration, asylum and refugee issues; criminal justice processes and terminology] can be used to develop tailored training and awareness-raising sessions.