BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
THE Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs is in the process of finalising the Youth Justice Bill.
The youth justice bill aims to bring Solomon Islands Legislation up to date, and to help it meet its obligations under the UN Convention on the rights of the child.
It will deal with the differences and gaps in the current law which is now outdated, said the Permanent Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs, Ms Ethel SIgimanu.
Sigimanu said the new legislation would reflect a more enlightened and modern concept for dealing with youths in conflict with the law. This can be done by diverting young people away from crime, she said.
“And also the formal legal system and assist them to rehabilitate and lead productive lives.
“It is my hope that in the future; a set of standard for administration of justice will be developed.
“That is to ensure that we are sensitive to the particular needs of young people undergoing a difficult process in their lives and also to make that we do not undermine the quality of service delivery to our young people,” Sigiamnu said.
This service delivery comes with the refurbishment of the country’s Juvenile Court, an undertaking most welcomed by Sigimanu.
She said, “This is welcomed news to my Ministry since we are now in the process of finalising the Youth Justice Bill which has also been made possible with funding from Australia through Save the Children.”
With that, Sigimanu acknowledged the Australian Government for its commitment through the Solomon Islands Justice programme in supporting the country’s justice sector.
Particularly, the re-development of the Juvenile Court as it will bring Solomon Islands in line with International best practice, she adds.
Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Roderick Brazier said, “With Australia’s support, Save the Children was able to assist the Ministry to engage with young people during the Youth Justice Bill consultations.”
Brazier said Australia’s support for youth justice is part of their larger Solomon Islands Justice Programme, which is committing to $32million over four years.
The refurbishment of the Juvenile Court is a milestone achievement for Solomon Islands’ justice in particular to bring it into line the best of International practice in juvenile court.