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Age of Majority

The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as a person under 18 years of age. According to Beijing Rules, “A juvenile is a child or young person who, under the respective legal system, may be dealt with for an offense in a manner which is different from an adult. ” According to the Turkish Criminal Code 5237 Article 31 and Child Protection Law 5395 Article 3, a juvenile is defined as “any individual that has not yet completed age 18, regardless of whether they have reached full legal age earlier” (UNICEF 2010).

Juvenile offenders who lack “penal liability” are ruled by the Criminal Code and Child Protection Law. From the perspective of criminal responsibility, the minimum age for penal liability is 12 years. The minimum age is set to 15 years for disabled juveniles. If a juvenile under the age of 12 years commits a crime only security measures can be applied. Such children may not be put under the supervision of probation officers, but similar services should be made available by the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (UNICEF 2010). For juvenile offenders who are over the age of 12 years but not yet 15 years old, an evaluation is required to determine if they have criminal responsibility or not. According to Article 63 of the TCPP, this evaluation is undertaken by the judge. However, the judge can consult a specialist and use social inquiry reports to make a decision (UNICEF 2010).

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