HA NOI (VNS) — The establishment of a Family and Children's Court in Viet Nam is needed to ensure improved prosecution and judicial system in cases involving children.
This was stated by the head of Institute for Prosecutorial Sciences under Supreme People's Court, Le Van Minh. Speaking at a forum on Monday, he said that the physical and mental characteristics of children and juveniles required specialised prosecution and investigation procedures.
Although Viet Nam's Law on Criminal Procedures has a separate chapter pertaining to children and juveniles, the current procedures are neither as comprehensive nor as effective as could be desired, especially at a time when the number of juvenile violators and offenders is increasing.
He commented that the children's court was expected to be a practical move on the part of Viet Nam towards fulfilling its commitment to the protection of children and their rights.
Moreover, it would help improve the database on children and juveniles, thus providing lawmakers with accurate information for the framing of proper policies and prevention of juvenile crime, he remarked.
Minh said that it was time for Viet Nam to prepare human resource, facilities and funding for the establishment of a children's court.
According to the Supreme People's Court, each year courts across the nation solve about 3213 juvenile-crime cases and 106,000 cases pertaining to marriage and family issues.
"If each judge works with 60 cases per year, about 1,820 judges are needed," Minh remarked, adding that the staff at courts also needed to upgrade their capability and skills to better deal with child-related cases.
Ijaya Ratnam Raman, a legal expert from United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that a children's court was required on account of differences between children and adults and between juvenile crime and adult crime.
Moreover, there was a correlation between juvenile crime and the maltreatment of children, he said.
Under the United Nations' International Convention on the Rights of the Child, member countries are required to establish family and juvenile courts.
The UNICEF recommends that the court should be "civilised," meaning the judge and staff at courts should not wear uniforms, the presence of police at court is limited, the police don't wear uniforms or bring guns to court and social workers are present at criminal courts with children.
It also encourages reconciliation services and social services for participants in the Family and Juvenile Court.
The forum was jointly organised by National Assembly's Committee for Culture, Education, Children and Youth and the UNICEF in Viet Nam. Participants at the forum also discussed child rights and protection in the draft of a revised law on environment protection. — VNS