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Legal aid/legal representation is an essential element of a fair, humane and efficient criminal justice system that is based on the rule of law. The right to legal representation is a precondition of children’s access to justice. Children left alone without any independent legal counsel are not only deprived of their voice, but are also subject to numerous abuses as they are often intimidated and not aware of their rights, although these are guaranteed by almost all of the countries in the world.
The right to legal representation of children in conflict with the law is proscribed by the ICCPR, the ECHR, and specifically regarding children only the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). However, even though these international instruments provide a consistent of standards on child‐friendly measures for the provision of legal assistance to children, they do so in a very general manner. Only the Council of Europe Guidelines on Child‐Friendly Justice, gives specific guidance on how lawyers, paralegals, should interact with child clients and their families, with child and other victims, with the police and prosecuting agencies, or with courts or tribunals designated to adjudicate cases. Therefore, there is much space for future development of possible international legal document that will address this issue in more specific manner.
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International Legal Protection of Human Rights in Armed Conflict, United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, 2011;
Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on child‐ friendly Justice, November 2010;
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, United Nations General Assembly with Resolution 2200A (XXI), 19 December 1966;
Johannesburg Declaration on the Implementation of the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems Johannesburg, South Africa June 24-26, 2014;
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III);
United Nations Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime, approach to Justice for Children, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 2005/20 of 22 July 2005
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49;
United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, United Nations Economic and Social Council, E/CN.15/2012/L.14/Rev.1;
UNICEF Children’s Equitable Access to Justice: Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 2015, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The Regional Office for CEE/CIS, Children’s Equitable Access to Justice, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, UNICEF, Geneva, 2015;
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 10 (2007): Children's Rights in Juvenile Justice, 25 April 2007, CRC/C/GC/10;
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (“The Beijing Rules”), General Assembly Resolution 40/33 of 25 November 1995;
UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (“Havana Rules,” 1990), adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990;