Trivialising juveniles' rights? : a critical comparative perspective on the rights of juveniles during police proceedings in the framework of the Dutch and Austrian justice system

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Siegl, Katharina
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The area of juvenile justice systems focusing on children in conflict with the law amounts to the branch of children‟s rights where the largest number of legislation has been issued. Even though several States appear to question their own attitudes towards trends in juvenile delinquency, this field of juvenile justice often accounts for violations of children‟s rights at the hands of States themselves, such as during the phase of arrest. Clearly, a highly sensitive area, including responses that are frequently not be categorised as juvenile-friendly and further do not necessarily favour individual development of persons underage, the vulnerability of minor suspects refers to all stages of procedures. However, it appears to be greatest at the phase of police proceedings. This has also been confirmed by State reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (CPT). The present study deals with the specific topic of minors and their rights in light of international human rights law when confronted with the law enforcement body in practice. Two countries have been selected to examine and critically compare juvenile justice systems on the national level: Austria and the Netherlands. Taking into consideration the CPT reports to these countries, this thesis subsequently addresses the question of specific procedural rights and conditions of minors during the phases before detention. And moreover, until when is special protection guaranteed in the countries under examination and why are there differences among Austria and the Netherlands concerning the age limits? Overall, the question of relevance and impact of previous CPT reports on national practices arises and, similarly, which broader implications can be withdrawn from the kind of points of interests repeatedly selected and mentioned by the CPT. This research is dedicated to a comparative research, ensuring an insight into the differences and similarities of the two juvenile justice systems and identifying best practices and developments. Ultimately, broader conclusions can be drawn with regards to the nature of the force of international instruments and institutions, if a national government decide to overlook or ignore their actions and guidelines.
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles
juvenile justice, juvenile detention, police, juvenile delinquency, children rights, human rights, The Netherlands, Austria, European Committee for Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment