Attorney-General, Dr. Ali bin Fadl Al Buainain, has affirmed the Public Prosecution’s intention to implement effectively the Restorative Justice Law for Children and their Protection from Ill-Treatment, which is an exemplary legislation with an enlightened humanitarian dimension in the criminal treatment and protection of children.
This is because it includes procedural and objective provisions that stipulate that no judgment or order shall be issued or actions be taken against children unless they are based on a thorough study of their social and psychological conditions, as well as ensuring that top priority shall always be given to the best interests of the child, he said.
The Attorney-General made the statements while addressing the international workshop on the “Prospects and Challenges of Effective Application of the Restorative Justice Law for Children”, held under his patronage, in cooperation with the Judicial and Legal Studies Institute and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and with the participation of the British and French embassies in Bahrain.
The two-day event was launched today with the participation of more than 200 specialists from different countries and in the presence of the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, ambassadors and diplomats.
Judges, members of the Public Prosecution and experts and international experts took part in the workshop.
In his opening speech, Dr. Al-Buainain stressed that the ultimate goal of the Law on Restorative Justice for Children is to give priority to preserving the best interests of the child.
He noted that the workshop will not only provide details of the Law’s objective and procedural aspects, but also focus on its application, based on its civilisational and human dimensions, in line with the approach of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on developing legislation in the Kingdom to ensure the progress in achieving the comprehensive development process.
The Attorney-General said that the high-level participation in the workshop, and the constant constructive cooperation of the ambassadors of friendly countries and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime confirms the serious and commendable strides made by the kingdom to develop its integrated legal and judicial system.
The development is based on the principles of its Constitution which guarantees freedoms, as well as public and private rights.
He indicated that over the past years, Bahrain has spared no effort to consolidate justice and strengthen the pillars of the rule of law, noting that the recent legislative reviews have resulted in a coherent legal organisation and strong institutions concerned with the protection of various human rights.
Al-Buainain pointed out that the Restorative Justice Law for Children and their Protection from Ill-Treatment is part of the kingdom’s legislative development, noting that it aims to support and strengthen the capacities of the judiciary and the relevant executive bodies to achieve a sound and effective application that would achieve its forecast purposes.
The Attorney-General stressed that this law is exemplary in the treatment of the children and their protection from mistreatment, as it prioritises the best interests of the child in all judgments, decisions and procedures related to them, and expands the jurisdiction of the Child Protection Centre to ensure their optimal protection from ill-treatment.
It also emphasises the right of children at all stages of investigation and trial to hear them and understand their demands, ensures their treatment in a manner that preserves their dignity and their physical and psychological safety.
It guarantees the right of the child to enjoy integrated health and social protection, legal assistance, and rehabilitation, in line with international principles and standards.
He added that one of the most important distinctive features of the Restorative Justice Law is that it has given social, psychological and health expertise a coherent role at every stage and in every procedure, whereby no verdict or order shall be issued or action taken against the child unless they are based on a thorough study covering the social, psychological and personal conditions of the child.
Al-Buainain said that since the issuance of the Law on Restorative Justice for Children, the Public Prosecution has worked strenuously to put in place all the necessary requirements for its application.
They include the restructuring of the Family and Child Prosecution and consolidating its technical and material capabilities, in addition to the establishment of the Execution and Aftercare Office at the Family and Child Prosecution.
The Office is responsible for implementing and following up on of the verdicts and orders issued by the Restorative Justice Court and the Childhood Judicial Committee, established under the new law, as well as supporting and strengthening the child’s aftercare system, in coordination with the relevant authorities, in a manner that ensures the best interests of children.
During the workshop sessions, speakers, including international experts, academics and members of the judiciary, will address several legal and practical themes related to criminal treatment and protection of children.
They include child protection approaches and rights in the investigation and trial stage, international experiences in the field of restorative justice, basic considerations for choosing the appropriate penalties and measures for the child, mechanisms for early detection and reporting of cases of violence against children.
They also include coordination in this regard among the concerned authorities, as well as ensuring the best interests of the child.
This international workshop is one in a series of the events organised by the Public Prosecution since the issuance of the Law on Restorative Justice for Children and their Protection from Ill-Treatment at the beginning of this year for the purpose of strengthening capacities and unifying efforts to achieve an effective application of the law to ensure that its achieves its purposes in the treatment and protection of children.
In a statement to Bahrain News Agency (BNA) on the sidelines of the international workshop, Al-Buainain said that the Restorative Justice Law is a new law in the region, which consolidates the kingdom’s leading status in many fields at the GCC and Arab levels.
He affirmed that the new law ensures exemplary treatment for children, and makes psychological and social review an imperative matter throughout various stages of the child-related cases, stressing that the event is a living proof of the kingdom’s progress in the field of human rights and childcare.
The Attorney-General pointed out that this law represents a giant leap in the field of special care for children that consolidates the kingdom’s international standing, expressing hope that it will motivate other countries to adopt the ideas initiated by Bahrain in this regard.
Al Buainain said that work has already started to review the laws issued in all cases related to the age group between 15 to 18 years to put in place measures that take into account this group’s interests.
The aim is to ensure reform in a manner that preserves the rights of the child, commensurate with the objectives of the United Nations.
Source: Bahrain News Agency