Assessment of the Reintegration Experiences of Children in Contact with the Law in Iraq

In Iraq, since 2003, protracted conflict and violence, poverty, and displacement have exposed children to a higher than usual risk of coming into contact with the law and, by the date of publication of this report, according to UNICEF unofficial estimates, 1,675 children (1,534 boys; 141 girls) were detained in 25 facilities under the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI). While this figure itself is relatively low, it is understood to represent only a small percentage of all delinquency cases, with Iraqi law prescribing various non-custodial alternatives, such as fines and probation, at both the pre-trial and sentencing/ disposition stages. There are reports that police officers divert a considerable number of cases without recourse to formal judicial proceedings, but with limited mechanisms for follow up, little is known of the fates of these children and it is believed that many remain vulnerable to recidivism.

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