Juveniles are increasingly involved in terrorist-related activities abroad and at home. Some may have been taken to Syria or Iraq by their parents or may have been born within the so-called Caliphate where they are ‘educated’ according to the strict so-called IS/Da’esh doctrine. Some are forcefully abducted, sometimes drugged or otherwise desensitised for violence before becoming actively involved in hostilities. Yet, others join terrorist organisations seemingly of their own accord. Due to their relative immaturity, diminished sense of responsibility and underdeveloped moral compass juveniles are especially vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist groups.
Many states are exploring how they can successfully counter the potential threat posed by juveniles involved in terrorist-related activities, while at same time protecting the rights of children. Some countries see juvenile terrorists as having both victim- and offender status, meaning that juveniles involved in terrorist activities should always be considered for preventative, non-custodial and rehabilitative measures first. Others treat juvenile terrorist suspects like adult terrorist offenders, often handing out lengthy punishments despite the existence of specialised juvenile legislation. Each approach brings its own set of risks and challenges.
The High Level Panel brings together Nikita Malik (Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism), Liesbeth van der Heide (Research Fellow at ICCT) and a juvenile justice expert to look at how juvenile terrorist suspects are treated during the different stages of criminal proceedings. In particular, Malik will discuss the roles children have assumed under Islamic State and the legal frameworks that may apply to them. Van der Heide will focus on the steps that are taken with respect to rehabilitation and reintegration within and outside the prison context. In addition, the need and suitability of criminal justice measures in the context of juveniles involved in terrorist activities and other options, such as administrative measures or child protection measures, will be explored.
If you would like to attend this event, you can RSVP by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 28 August 2017, mentioning your full name and organisational affiliation.
The event is free of charge and open to the public.