MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) – The government must take into account the opinions of Russian society when considering introducing a special juvenile justice system, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday at a congress of the Russian Parents Opposition group.
“The opinion of society, it goes without saying, will be heard and considered. In these issues, there must be no place for secrecy or imposition when taking on these projects,” Putin said.
Russia has been working on the implementation of a special justice system for handling juveniles since it signed the European Social Charter back in 2000. That initiative has been strongly opposed by conservative groups in Russia, including the Russian Orthodox Church, as an alien western practice damaging traditional family values.
Children’s rights ombudsmen offices have been established across the country in the past year, but there is still no separate branch of the courts for dealing with minors.
Putin said over 141,000 citizens had signed a petition expressing concern over introduction of a juvenile justice system, and said he recognized the concerns of those who thought that a series of draft laws on guarantees for the rights of children contained social risks.
“And most importantly, Russian family traditions are not fully taken into account in them,” he said.
Over half (57 percent) of Russians questioned in a survey last week backed the idea of juvenile courts in Russia, but some 71 percent said they were against children’s rights taking priority over those of their parents.
Sixty percent said minors should not be allowed to take action against their parents in the courts, according to the survey conducted by the VTsIOM state-run polling organization.