Rapid analysis: Children in Namibia in conflict with the law.
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About thirteen years ago, in 1999, the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Juvenile Justice commissioned a Discussion Document Juvenile Justice in Namibia. This document, setting out the domestic Namibian and international legal framework for dealing with children in conflict with the law, provided albeit not comprehensive in terms of quantitative data, a fairly plausible picture of the way in which the Namibian justice system dealt with child offenders. The document clearly demonstrated that Namibia had strides to make if the country were to meet the requirements not only of its own law, but also its international obligations, notably under the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC/CRC). The Discussion Document Juvenile Justice in Namibia remained hitherto the only comprehensive document on the topic. In the meantime however, Namibia has directed impressive resources towards the wellbeing of her children,1 and over a period of two National Development Plans (NDP 2 and NDP 3) socio-economic conditions have changed. With the adoption of a number of Acts of Parliament addressing particular issues concerning children,2 also the normative framework, in which children grow up today, has changed. While all those changes have been fairly well mapped and documented,3 they remain external to the very phenomenon of child offending as well as to the ways in which the Namibian criminal justice system behaves when it comes to dealing with children in conflict with the law. It is in this context of uncertainty and change that the MGECW commissioned this study to obtain a rapid analysis of the state of compliance with the CRC.
- Legal Studies