Juvenile Justice in Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, despite legislative improvements in 2018 – 2019, the authorities continue to make excessive use of detention as a punitive measure when minors are suspected or accused of committing an offence. In 2021, boys and girls continued to be criminalised at alarming rates and detained in deplorable conditions. 

Dominicans for Justice and Peace embarked on the second phase of its Juvenile Justice Project. A series of fact-finding missions were carried out in juvenile protection services and detention centres by the Justice and Peace Dominican Commission in Abidjan. Between 23 March and 6 April, the team followed the path of a juvenile offender through various stages of the justice system, from their arrest to their reintegration into society. Its observations were consolidated into a concluding report and an advocacy report, which provided detailed information on the institutions, the difficulties encountered within the system and recommendations for improving the situation with the help of local civil society organisations.

The conclusions were then shared in a webinar during the 30th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. Jointly with the U.S. Department of State and the UNODC, the Delegation organised an event entitled ‘New Approaches to Juvenile Justice in the African Context’. 

The team in Ivory Coast made further progress in cooperating with the Ivorian authorities and has developed a close working relationship with the juvenile justice system. It was therefore able to organise a Christmas party with the youth in the detention centre of Abidjan, where the team rehearsed a dance performance with the teenagers and handed out small Christmas presents. The team members have become credible partners for the juvenile justice institutions in the country and have proven to be trustworthy and invaluable assistants for the young detainees in the detention centre in Abidjan.

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