Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Katja Filipcic and Mojca M. Plesnicar
THE LEGAL STATUS OF JUVENILES
The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia regulates the rights of children, who enjoy special protection and care in the system. They are endowed with human rights and fundamental freedoms which they can enjoy consistent with their age and maturity, and are guaranteed special protection from economic, social, physical, mental, or other exploitation and abuse.
The best interest of the child is a guiding principle for all legislation regarding children and is well reflected in the criminal justice system as well. In fact, even though punitiveness has been on the rise in Slovenia in the past decades (Flander and Mesko 2016), rehabilitation continues to remain at the core of juvenile criminal justice (Filipcic 2006).
Slovenia is a typical continental legal system and at the normative level, in most respects, resembles closely the German or Austrian systems, with which it shares its legal tradition. The criminal system is shaped accordingly, with the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Act as the main normative documents in criminal justice.
For an extensive period of time, Slovenia adhered to the uniform structure of substantive criminal law, meaning that all norms related to criminal justice were to be found in the Criminal Code. In 2008, a new Criminal Code was passed that envisioned a separate law for juvenile offenders. However, due to different reasons as explained later on, such a law has not yet been enforced nor has it been passed by the legislature, resulting in the old Criminal Code’s continued use with juveniles. The general orientation is still and is supposed to remain highly rehabilitative: juvenile offending is seen mostly as a sign that the juveniles need some sort of help in
K. Filipcic (*)
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017
S.H. Decker, N. Marteache (eds.), International Handbook of Juvenile Justice, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45090-2_19
readjusting their behavior toward a more conforming stance. The tide may be changing on that notion, but so far normative documents as well as professional practice still remains within those limits (Filipcic 2010a).
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