The Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) came into effect on Friday, November 20.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the Juvenile Justice Act on November 20, 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and assigns criminal responsibility at 15-years of age.
According to Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath, the act will introduce 'Diversion Mechanisms' to prevent offenders, rehabilitate and reintegrate children into society.
The JJA also calls for child-friendly settings to discuss cases concerning children in conflict with the law. Moreover, the act calls for legal alternatives to prosecution, which considers various factors of the child to ensure the rights of the children are protected.
The Juvenile Justice Act outlines the rights of children and adolescents who conflict with the law or get immersed in violence, juvenile delinquency, and means to prevent juvenile delinquencies. The bill also prescribes a swift resolution to allow reforming juvenile delinquents into productive members of society through rehabilitative facilities.
The Act directs the constitution of a Department of Juvenile Justice, a specialised police department to address juvenile delinquencies, designated State Prosecutors for children, a particular unit of probation and correctional officers, a juvenile diversion programme, rehabilitation programmes, and residential facilities and correctional centres.
Judges that oversee cases with juvenile delinquencies are mandated to undergo a special training within a year the act is implemented.
Moreover, the Juvenile Court is to establish regional branches within 18 months of implementation.