Juvenile justice is a fundamental component of criminal justice systems and a critical element of successful international development models. The Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes international standards for the treatment of children, including children in contact with law. This mandate is supplemented by juvenile justice provisions in signatory states around the globe. In post-conflict societies, however, juvenile justice efforts must often compete for scarce government resources. In Iraq in particular, the development of the juvenile justice system has encountered systemic challenges as the country has transitioned from continuous conflict and totalitarian rule to democracy and the rule of law. Based in part on the author’s first hand experience working with juvenile justice institutions in Baghdad, this article examines the state of Iraqi juvenile justice, past and present, and offers a strategy for the future of juvenile justice administration in Iraq.
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