Strengthening Legislative and Institutional Capacity for Juvenile Justice in Egypt

Project Duration: 01/06/2003 - 30/04/2009

Total Budget: US$ 697,026

Donors: Denmark and the Drosos Foundation

Counterparts

Ministry of Justice

National Council of Childhood and Motherhood

UNICEF

Target Groups

Outline and Objectives

Developed back in 2003, this project aimed at assisting the efforts of the Egyptian Government to strengthen the implementation of national juvenile justice legislative and institutional provisions.

The existence of efficient and humane criminal justice systems, capable of addressing injustices and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, is crucial to the promotion of rule of law. The current criminal justice systems in many countries of the region lack the capacity to respond adequately to emerging forms and dimensions of crime. The lack of capacity can be seen in the institutional capacity of the juvenile justice systems in the region, which do not enable adequate responses to protect and ensure the best interest of the child. There is also a lack of adequate legislative provisions for educational measures, alternatives to deprivation of liberty, and measures to encourage recourse to mediation and conciliation procedures, for minors in conflict with the law.

In Egypt, the weakness of the current vocational and educational programmes carried out at residential places hamper the implementation of coherent activities by the national competent authorities to protect vulnerable children, including juveniles in conflict with the law. It is also to be noted that the decisions taken by the magistrates indicate a predominantly legalistic approach.

In light of the elaboration of new rehabilitation schemes for juveniles, the activities under this project aim at improving the current educational and vocational activities carried out at the Institution for Young Male Offenders in the Marg correctional facility, Cairo, introducing new ways of dealing with children in conflict with the law and young people at risk in the community, and adapting them with the rehabilitation programme that will be developed in coordination with the General Administration for Social Defense (GASD).

Such activities support the efforts of the National authorities, especially the Ministries of Social Affairs and Interior, to strengthen the administration of the social institutions and to improve detention conditions of juveniles detained or under supervision.

Key Achievements

  • Establishment and operationalization of the General Administration of the Child Judicial Protection (GACJP), which is institutionally attached to the Ministry of Justice.
  • A new version of database system has been finalized and rolled out to the three Governorates of Giza, Cairo and Alexandria, thus increasing the efficiency of the process of case handling.
  • Development of training strategies and implementation of training programs for social workers, juvenile police officers, and the judicial personnel (lawyers, prosecutors and magistrates).
  • Drafting of amendments to the Egyptian Child Law and approval thereof.
  • Adoption of a work plan for the improvement of the conditions at the Marg correctional facility.
  • Rehabilitation strategy established and implemented at the Institution for Young Male Offenders in Marg.
  • Administrative system improved at the Institution.
  • Educational workshops and extracurricular activities improved in an adequate environment.
  • Vocational workshops strengthened by upgrading existing workshops and establishing new workshops that are highly requested in the labour market.
  • Training of prison personnel (social workers and trainers) on dealing with children deprived of liberty.
  • Capacity for continuous and sustainable monitoring and reform of rehabilitation programmes established.