Alleged staged kidnapping incident: Child Rights International urges prioritisation of juvenile justice

Child Rights International (CRI), a creative human rights organisation with a focus on children’s rights, has called for prioritisation of juvenile justice following an alleged staged kidnapping incident in Accra.

A statement issued by Mr Bright Appiah, the Executive Director of CRI, copied to the Ghana News Agency, commended the Police for a swift intervention in this matter, effectively managing the situation and preserving the privacy of the juveniles involved in their official releases.

The publication by the Police showed that the alleged staged kidnapping incident, involving four juveniles of Presbyterian Boys Senior High School, Legon, and two adults, was an attempt to extort money for travel purposes.

It said as the investigation progressed, it was crucial to emphasise that any legal proceedings must adhere strictly to the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653).

The statement said it was imperative that all talks concerning juveniles be conducted within the juvenile justice system, ensuring that due
process and fairness are upheld.

It noted that furthermore, it was essential to note that the custody and detainment of the juveniles must comply with the provisions outlined in Section 15(1) of the Act, ‘The police shall make arrangements to detain the juvenile in a part of a police station special designated for juveniles or in a part of a police station which is separate from the area where persons other than juveniles are detained,’ Mandating the segregation of juvenile detainees from adult facilities.

It said also, throughout the judicial process, the utmost respect for the dignity and privacy of the juveniles must be maintained in accordance with Section 3(1): ‘A juvenile has the right to Privacy during arrest, the investigation of an offence , at the trial of the offence, and at any other stage of the cause or matter.’ Section 3(2): ‘A person shail not, in the course of arrest, investigation, or trial of an offence connected with a juvenile, or at any stage of the cause or matter, release any informa
tion for publication that may lead to the identification of the juvenile.’

The statement urged all parties involved, including institutions, organisations, and media entities, to act in accordance with the law when reporting on this case, refraining from actions that could compromise the rights of the juveniles in order to make the rehabilitation before and after the trial effective.

It said the custody, the detention, and the trial of the children should strictly comply with the Juvenile Justice Act (653) Section 1(2): ‘A juvenile shall be dealt with in a manner which is different from an adult, except under exceptional circumstances under Section 17.’

It said the detention of the four children should be separated from adults.

It said regardless of the outcome of the investigation that would lead to the legal proceedings, whether the juveniles were found culpable or not, it was imperative that their rehabilitation be prioritised in line with Section 2 of the Act, which underscores the paramount importanc
e of the best interests of the juvenile.

It said the CRI acknowledged the Significant public interest surrounding this case, as it presented an opportunity for constructive dialogue aimed at reassessing our societal priorities concerning the upbringing and socialisation of children.

The statement said it was crucial to recognise that children were a reflection of their environments, and collective efforts required to foster a conducive and supportive society for their development.

It reiterated that in all matters, the interests of the child should be paramount.

Source: Ghana News Agency