Haji unveils guide on handling of criminal cases involving children

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 00:21 | By
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. PHOTO/Courtesy

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has launched guidelines to ensure uniformity and speed, in handling criminal cases involving children across the country.

The guide, according to the DPP Noordin Haji, is as a result of the realisation that cases involving children were generally complex and sensitive, and it was necessary to minimise the risk of discrimination and undue stress for children in the criminal justice system.

The ODPP has so far developed over eight key different policy documents to ensure just and expeditious disposal of criminal cases.

Haji yesterday launched the Prosecutors’ Guide to Children in the Criminal Justice System and also the Diploma in Public Prosecutions course at the Prosecution Training Institute (PTI) in Loresho, Nairobi.

As a result, the ODPP has set up the Child Justice Unit within the Children’s Division, which is made up of prosecutors from different counties and also child friendly interview rooms in seven counties.

The rooms will be equipped with video conferencing equipment to allow remote interviewing and court sessions hence minimizing secondary victimisation.

The launch comes at a time when almost every jurisdiction in the world, is grappling with juvenile delinquency.

The European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger who attended the launch said the guide would ensure uniformity in how children are handled within the criminal justice system.

“When children are involved in crime or victims of crime, it is important to find the right treatment and to adjust the law because children cannot be treated like any other adult,” she said.

The Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi said the guidelines provided the most appropriate means to ensure the ODPP handles children within the criminal Justice system, their rights under international treaties are protected.

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