19 May The minimum age of criminal responsibility: reflections on international heterogeneity of age and stratification by offence type
The minimum age of criminal responsibility: reflections on international heterogeneity of age and stratification by offence type
Individual presentation8Enys Delmage, Capital and Coast District Health Board, New Zealand
Room 3CThu 10:30 - 12:00
This presentation is an update on the minimum age of criminal responsibility internationally. The minimum age of criminal responsibility can reasonably be defined as the age below which children are presumed to be unable to have the capacity to commit an offence. In most jurisdictions internationally, this can be described as a conclusive presumption – which means that it must be held to be the case whatever the evidence to the contrary and cannot be rebutted by evidence. Children below this age fall outside of the jurisdiction of the youth criminal justice systems and where they have committed illegal acts, such children are managed by civil law interventions including placement in secure children’s homes or where necessary in hospital settings, residential educational settings or highly supported placements under the auspice of local authority social services. The work presented here is a study of the various international positions in relation to the minimum ages of criminal responsibility set by each country, a reflection on the increasing neuroscientific evidence in relation to child brain development and capabilities at various ages, and a consideration of potential options for the future. We will analyse the commonest methods of dealing with young offenders across all countries in the world, considering topics such as doli incapax, sharia law, stratification by offence "seriousness" and the position of international bodies such as the United Nations Committee.