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Monday 15th of July 2019

Press Room

‘Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe’ project: Final conference tackles partners’ experiences and national impacts

Friday 24th of February 2017
IJJO Day by Day

The final conference of the IJJO led project ‘Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe: Training for professionals’ was held in Valencia, Spain, between the 15th and the 17th of February 2017. The final conference allowed for the perfect opportunity to present and reflect on the results of this project, co-funded by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union. 


Through specialized trainings and the establishment of national coalitions in the partners’ countries, the project has disseminated best practices on child-friendly justice, promoting particularly the active participation of children in the juvenile justice proceedings they are involved in, as well as their right to be informed about these procedures in a child-friendly manner.

The project has promoted an improved implementation of the Guidelines of the Council of Europe on child-friendly justice and other international and European standards, with particular attention paid to the recently adopted Directive 800/2016/EU on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings.

The final conference of the project was opened by the IJJO Chairman, Francisco Legaz Cervantes, and Ton Liefaard, UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University. Then an introduction to the project was given by Cédric Foussard, IJJO Director of International Affairs, as well as Kate Moffett from Include Youth (which produced videos about young people in contact with the law for the project), along with Ton Liefaard and Stephanie Rap from Lieden University, co-authors of the project’s training package (manual and toolkit for professionals).

Following this, a discussion was held on the results and impact of the project. During this time, representatives from the partnered organisations gave presentations on the results of the project in their home country, with consideration given to the seminars held and national coalitions established. Afterwards, Carolina Lluch Palau, juvenile prosecutor from Spain, gave a very insightful presentation on a survey conducted on young people in conflict with the law, covering their interaction with different juvenile justice bodies and professionals.

Then Mary Robinson, an independent consultant, presented her evaluation of the project at national levels, and requested further input among the participants to be given during the rest of the conference. She pointed out the value of the trainings to the different national stakeholders in each country, as well as the challenges, such as consolidating the national coalitions. After this, Maria José Bernuz, from the University of Zaragoza, gave her take as associated expert on the main contributions of the project.  

On the second day, a plenary session took place tackling child-friendly justice priorities for 2017-2019 in Europe, presented by Valentina Boz (HELP Programme, COE) and Anna Markina (Tartu University, Estonia), the latter introducing Estonia’s presidency of the EU Council during the second half of 2017.

One of the main focuses of this morning was the discussion of the effective implementation in EU Member States of the recently adopted Directive 2016/800/EU on procedural safeguards for children accused or suspected in criminal proceedings. In relation to this, Ton Liefaard and Stephanie Rap from Lieden University requested participants to work in a group dynamic in order to produce input on the subject from their different national and professional perspectives.

On the second half of the day, a field visit was organised to the 'Pi Gros' youth detention centre (Castellón province), dependent on the Council for Equality and Inclusive Policies of the Autonomous Government of Valencia, and managed by Fundación Diagrama. The field visit allowed participants to observe an example of good practices being put into practice in the context of a juvenile detention centre, in accordance with the recommendations of the ‘Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe’ project. These include the application of European and international standards, as well as best practices, regarding subjects such as effective participation of children, their right to information, communication skills of the staff with the child, and the role of parents during pre- and post-trial detention, amongst others.

The final day of the meeting, Friday, was largely used for a working group dynamic, as participants worked in four simultaneous groups covering the following subjects: procedural safeguards and child friendly justice; all forms of detention and alternatives; restorative approaches; and countering violent extremism. The day concluded with the working groups coming together to offer their thoughts and conclusions following the day’s discussion.

In addition to the speakers already mentioned from the IJJO and Include Youth organization, the rest of the partners of the ‘Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe’ project were represented by:

         Sanita Sīle, Ilona Kronberga Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (Latvia)

         Birk Moritz, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (Vienna, Austria)

         Marek Demner, Rubikon Centrum (Czech Republic)

         Sébastien Marchand, Association Diagrama (France)

         Eftychia Katsigaraki, Greek Ministry of Justice (Greece)

         Alessandra Minesso, Istituto Don Calabria (Italy)

         João d´Oliveira Cóias, Portuguese Ministry of Justice (Portugal)

         Jens Gellin, Finish Forum for Mediation (Finland)

         Louise Forde, The University of Cork (Ireland)

         Raquel Alarco Rosales, Fundación Diagrama (Spain)

         Aurélie Edjidjimo (IJJO) presented the results of  Hope for Children - UNCR Policy Centre (Cyprus)

Co-funded Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union

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