Judges and Magistrates from across Solomon Islands came together at Save the Children yesterday to revisit the special considerations and processes involved in dealing with young people in the formal justice system.Participants include Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer, Justice Francis Mwanesalua, Justice Rex Faukona and Chief Magistrate Leonard Maina.
The participants presented a research exercise on Solomon Islands' legislative compliance with the United Nations International Juvenile Justice Instruments.
Save the Children's Baddeley Nukumuna and UNICEF's Anika Kingmele presented a session on the history of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its importance in relation to the justice process for young people.
They told the meeting that children have the right not to be punished in a cruel or hurtful way even if they have committed a crime.
Sir Albert commented that the meet was a fantastic opportunity for judges and magistrates to come together for the first time to discuss the needs of children and young people who are in trouble with the courts.
"Often, children and young people who commit crime are vulnerable and need the positive direction of parents, communities and the courts."
Sir Albert acknowledged Save the Children for their ongoing work with the High Court and the Magistrates Court for "guiding us to learn more about the rights and needs of children".
"We are excited about the things we have learned and look forward to implementing the international rules that guide us in our courts..."
Save the Children will in the coming weeks produce a document for judges and magistrates to insert into their Judiciary Manual.
Yesterday's event was an invaluable exercise in gathering information to complete this project, the result of which should enhance special magistrates and judges carefully and effectively considering the needs and rights of children who moves through the formal court system.
Four members of the judiciary and magistracy have kindly offered their time to research United Nations international standards as guideline when dealing with children in the court system.
All four have developed comprehensive resources that provide linkages with current laws in Solomon Islands which act as a guide for judges and magistrates when dealing with young people in courts.