In December 2015, Kuwait enacted Law No. 111 issuing the Juvenile Law. The law reformed the juvenile justice system, providing for juvenile courts and reduced sentencing for people under the age of 16 who commit criminal offences. The legislation excludes children aged 16 or older from juvenile courts and juvenile sentencing provisions, allowing older children to be sentenced as adults. In effect, this has reintroduced the death penalty and life imprisonment for a large number of offences committed by children while they are aged 16 or older. The law entered into force on 31 December 2016.
Prior to the law entering into force, the Juvenile Act No. 3 of 1983 explicitly prohibited life imprisonment and the death penalty for child offenders and set a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment for people under the age of 18.
This report was prepared by the Child Rights International Network in January 2017. CRIN provided a copy to the Government of Kuwait for comment prior to publication, but received no response.
Note: On 8 March 2017, Kuwait reportedly passed legislation to amend its criminal law law to explicitly prohibit the death penalty for offences committed by people under the age of 18 and to ensure that children under the age of 18 are not tried as adults. This report will be updated when CRIN is able to confirm the reforms have entered into force.