UNODC South Eastern Europe on Juvenile Justice


Most South Eastern European countries/territories are undertaking actions aimed at reforming the juvenile justice systems, which, however, still have to yield to concrete results so as to ensure the full respect of the rights of children in conflict with the law and at risk. There is a common understanding on the necessity of revising legislations in place, particularly by boosting the establishment of specialized courts/bodies at all levels of the justice system. Legislative reforms should moreover be primary aimed at ensuring the full respect of the rights of the child during the criminal procedure.

There is a need of enhancing coordination among actors involved in the juvenile justice as well as a necessity to strengthen the mechanisms and the policies for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Separate detention facilities for juveniles need to be established along with the effective mechanisms for the registration and impartial investigation of complaints for children victims of ill treatment during imprisonment.

The adoption and concrete implementation of alternative, non custodial and diversionary measures should be promoted, since deprivation of liberty in the region is frequently not used as a measure of last resort. In addition, transparent and functioning systems of data collection and data sharing should be developed.


 Since an active contribution in the area of juvenile justice can be made, the Regional Programme will:


  • Conduct a regional need assessment and gap analysis on the juvenile justice legislation in place in SEE countries/territories;
  • Adopt regional guidelines on how to amend the legislation in compliance with relevant UN and international standards;
  • Enhance specialization of the judicial systems, by developing curricula and delivering trainings for juvenile justice officials (ToT), focused on relevant UN and international standards;
  • Assist in the establishment of specialized juvenile units within the existing Courts, Prosecutorial offices, and Law Enforcement Authorities; and
  • Facilitate the exchange of information on respective juvenile justice legal frameworks and best practices on the effective implementation of alternative, non custodial and diversionary measures.