It is generally agreed that children under a certain age have not fully developed to understand the impacts and meaning of their actions, and therefore lack the mental and legal capacity for commiting crimes. This is the rationale behind the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR). While the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sets no standard for the MACR and leaves the decision to national legislations, it encrouages states to raise this age to at least 14 years old in the General Comment No. 24 on Children’s Rights in the Justice System (UN Doc. CRC/C/GC/24).
Over the years, debates are centred on the question as to whether the MACR should be raised or lowered. In practice, a few countries have lowered the MACR as a response to the public outrage arisng from the overwhelmig behaviors conducted by children below this age. But will lowering the MACR have the intended deterrent effect on criminal behaviors among juveniles? Rather than exposing the chidren under the MACR to criminal punishments, what kind of measures should the governments, communities and families take to reduce the juvenile crime rate and ensures the well-being of monirs.
Considering that several countries have initited or are envisaging reforms concerning the MACR and juvenile justice, it is of significance to explore the contemporary developments of the corresponding legal frameworks from a comparative perspective. The BCLARC and CLIA decide to devote the second session of their webinar series to this issue.
Registration and Access:
Webinar will be delivered online via Zoom on Sep. 10th, 2020 at 19:00 Beijing Time, GMT+8/13:00 Central European Summer Time.
About the Host
Child Law International Alliance (CLIA) is a non-governmental organisation registered in Geneva, Switzerland, under the Swiss Law. It was founded in 2019 by five senior practitioners of child law from China and Switzerland. The CLIA seeks to promote reforms of child laws in different countries, by providing a platform where NGOs and professionals can share their experience in the fields and work together on legal initiatives.
Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Centre (BCLARC) is a non-governmental organisation established in 1999 with the vision of building a society where justice is accessible for every child. Since 2011, it has been in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and has been working on advocacy of child rights on the international level. BCLARC is devoted to increasing children’s access to justice. It has provided free legal services for children in almost all provinces in China. Currently, it has a network of more than 8000 pro bono lawyers who work on child protection cases all over the nation. The BCLARC conducts empirical researches on child protection. By taking a closer look at the areas where improvements are needed, it provides evidence-based recommendations and prepare solutions for key decision-making stakeholders. Its researches and publications have enlightened reforms and improvements of domestic legislations on child protection and child rights in China.