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Leftist party seeks to lower age for administrative responsibility

Published time: February 03, 2014 14:02
Edited time: February 03, 2014 14:43
RIA Novosti/Alex Aminev

RIA Novosti/Alex Aminev

Russian law currently allows 14- and 15-year-old children to be held responsible for serious crimes, but not for lesser “administrative” offenses. MPs from the center-left Fair Russia party want to hold 14-year-olds liable for any crime, however.

Fair Russia MPs hold that the contradiction between Russia’s criminal and administrative codes of law could be ended if administrative responsibility is also applied to children of 14 years or older. An explanatory letter accompanying the MPs’ bill, with corresponding amendments, says that no grounds exist for the anomaly, which it says only adds to the growth of teenage crime.

The lawmakers also argue that lowering the age of responsibility can be justified by children’s cruelty rising significantly over the past several years, while the legal measures combatting it remain the same.

Young people between the ages of 14 and 16 can account for their deeds and yet they often remain unpunished, one of the key sponsors of the draft, MP Oleg Mikheyev, told Izvestiya daily. This leads to a developing feeling of impunity, permissiveness and sometimes even invulnerability, he said.

As most teenagers lack legal knowledge they cannot fully understand the reasons that allow them to escape responsibility, Mikheyev said. As a result, quite often those who escaped administrative punishment because of their age often re-offend and become habitual criminals.

The bill’s backers also pointed out that the anomaly does not exist in other countries. The union state of Belarus, for example, imposes administrative responsibility from the age of 14 and in countries that use the precedent legal system, criminal responsibility can apply to 10- or even 7-year olds, Mikheyev said.

The head of the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Law, Vladimir Pligin, said he did not rule out adopting the proposals, but said that first they should be subject to detailed legal scrutiny.

Olga Kostina, the head of the Russian Public Chamber’s commission for interaction with law enforcement and the courts, also said she understood the logic of the move. She said, however, that to ensure success the legal changes must be combined with an effort to rehabilitate underage offenders.

The Fair Russia suggestion came shortly before the shooting on Monday at a Moscow school in which a senior grader killed two people – a teacher and a policeman, and briefly held hostage about 20 teenagers. The exact age of the attacker has not been officially confirmed, but as he went to the 11th grade he must be 15 or 16 years old.

The head of the populist LDPR party spoke about lowering the age of criminal responsibility almost immediately after the incident. “Criminal responsibility should be lowered from 18 or 16 years, this age is too high. Let us drop it to 13, 12, 10 years like they have abroad,” Vladimir Zhirivovsky told the Rossiya-24 news channel.

Comments (6)

 

Ann 05.02.2014 03:11

I find it interesting that many people want to blame the parents for all their children's mistakes. When in fact, most children are with the educators/schools than they are with their parents. Working parents see their kids for about an hour in the morning and then for dinner at night. The rest of the time is spent doing homework, then of course bedtime. Most of the kids, during their waking hours, spend it in the schools. So obviously, some or even alot of the bad behaviour the children are displaying is coming from the schools.

 

Brad Grace 04.02.2014 21:54

Not a good move.

 

Steven Severn 04.02.2014 12:03

Orbiter 04.02.2014 07:11

@Ann
Bett er do as Romans or Greeks did. Punish parents for crimes of their underage children to the full extent of law with respect to the offense, not for negligence or lack of attention. That would be fair.

  


What about punishing those who shape and project the social values and 'realities' that have socialised both children and their parents? We are to a large degree products of our societal and social environments yet that aspect is hardly questioned.

To do so would be to admit that our societal structure is fundementally flawed and corrupting.

View all comments (6)
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