JusticeMaker Publishes Brochure on Juveniles’ Rights
Posted by Nchapidze at November 18th, 2010
Since beginning her project in June 2010, JusticeMaker Nana Chapidze has made great strides in her bid to raise public awareness of juvenile rights in Georgia. Her latest success is the finalising and publishing of a brochure to advise youths of their rights if they run afoul of the law. This is required, as although there is a generalised legal aid system, the juvenile justice system is not regulated by a comprehensive code. This problem is exacerbated as the bureau does not have a specialized group of lawyers in juvenile cases. The brochure was developed in conjunction with the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of human right and rule of law.
It includes basic information about the legal system in Georgia, especially as it pertains to juveniles, notably that juvenile defendants are those between the ages of 14 and 18. Additionally, the brochure defines legal jargon for students to understand, and clearly highlights the following tenets of criminal procedure: the right to a lawyer, the right to remain silent, the right to receive medical care in custody, and the right to be informed of the charges against you. The brochure also has contact information for other forms of legal aid or legal advice which the accused juveniles or their families could access. These including information about the GYLA resource centre, an alternative to the government-run legal aid program.
Although the Georgian government should be commended for offering legal aid, protection gaps remain. If a citizen seeking legal aid surpasses the means test, or the legal aid office is already over-capacity, the government does not direct the applicant to any alternative remedies, including services offered by NGOs. Nana hopes her brochure will help rectify this limitation in legal aid. The GYLA resource centre, for example, offers legal consultation and advice, defence lawyers during preliminary investigations and court appearances, information about reforms taking place in the juvenile justice system, and trainings for children’s groups.
The brochure will now be disseminated throughout Georgia, in universities, NGO offices and public institutions.