A case for raising minimum age of criminal responsibility
This presentation examines the concept of age of criminal responsibility. It looks at the international law, the Beijing rules and the UN committee on the Rights of the Child (CROC) as well as the doli incapax rule which presumes that children between the ages of 10 and 14 are incapable of committing a criminal offence. Various countries are covered in the presentation such as Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Australia and the UK.
Regarding developments on doli incapax, the presentation highlights that the doctrine recognises the fundamental nature of childhood in the sense of children not having the ability to understand the wrongfulness of criminal acts and that that they develop this understanding gradually, at different and inconsistent rates.
However it points out that it appears that the UN Committee has been swayed by research showing that the doctrine is more often ignored in practice (e.g. in English, Australian, Kenya and South Africa courts) rather than the rationale of the doctrine.