MOSCOW, March 2 (Itar-Tass) — The deputies of the State Duma have put forward the idea to take radical measures in the struggle against adolescent delinquency. In particular, the deputies proposed to put in prison starting from 14 years instead of current 16 years over corpus delicti. The level of criminal responsibility may be brought down to 12 years for particular heinous crimes (murder, kidnapping and rape).
According to official statistical reports, the crime rate among adolescents is falling, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily noted. Every year Russia reports more than 300,000 crimes, which the adolescents committed. Children under 14 years commit a third of crimes. The adolescent brutality is dangerous for other people and teenagers themselves. The Investigation Committee and the Interior Ministry call for bringing teenagers over 12 years to responsibility. Russian Presidential Commissioner for Child Rights Pavel Astakhov opposed the initiative. He said that the origins of cruelty among children should be found.
The deputies studied the world experience and gave Great Britain as an example, where children are brought to criminal responsibility starting from ten years, the Novye Izvestia writes. However, this should be noted in this issue the criminal responsibility begins in that country not from ten years, but from ten to 17 years depending on the corpus delicti. People are brought to criminal responsibility in the United States starting from 16 years, in Finland from 15 years, in Germany and Japan from 14 years and in France starting from 13 years. People are brought to criminal responsibility in most CIS states starting from 16 years, and for some crimes over 14 years. As for Central Asia countries, for instance, people are brought to criminal responsibility starting from 13 years in Uzbekistan for a grave murder with aggravating circumstances.
The human rights activists noted that the development and even the debates over a new provision in the legislation is premature, moreover, it will hardly give roots in the Russian society, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily noted. “Despite the fact that in general I oppose a tougher responsibility, it is necessary to act very carefully in the sphere, where the teenagers are considered. I agree that adolescent criminals are characteristic with brutality and the crime ‘is getting younger’ in general. However, the Soviet authorities decided to put people in prison starting from 14 years in 1961. Before enacting this provision in the legislation, psychologists and psychiatrists have made major research to set the age permissible for imprisonment. Now we want to bring it down to 12 years. It is wrong to ruin the deeply rooted traditions. However, we have enough ways to improve the upbringing of teenagers,” the former chief of the Russian Interpol Bureau Vladimir Ovchinsky told the newspaper.