Life imprisonment of children in Europe

As part of CRIN’s inhuman sentencing campaign, we monitor life imprisonment of children around the world and track relevant legal reform. This page includes country profiles for Europe detailing the legality of life imprisonment in each country, how life imprisonment is defined nationally and, where the information is available, how many children are serving life imprisonment.

You can also find out more about life imprisonment in Europe through CRIN's report, Life imprisonment of children in the European Union.

Please contact us at contact@crin.org if you are aware of any inaccuracies in this information of legal reforms underway to amend relevant legislation in any State.

Albania

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for crimes committed by persons while they were under the age of 18.1

Meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a life sentence is liable to be held indefinitely, but may be released if the person serving the sentence has: (i) served no less than 25 years' imprisonment; (ii) shown “excellent behaviour”; and (iii) the educational aim of the sentence has been achieved.2

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person who is younger than 14 at the time he or she commits a criminal offence can be held “criminally responsible” for that offence. This age limit applies to more serious offences under the Criminal Code, those designated “crimes”.

Children can be held responsible for “criminal contraventions” from the age of 16. 3 Criminal contraventions are less serious offences designated as such under the Criminal Code.

Maximum sentences

Persons under 18 sentenced to imprisonment cannot be sentenced to more than half of the term that would be applied to an adult.4 The maximum fixed prison sentence for an adult is 25 years, and so the maximum term to which a child may be sentenced is 12 and a half years.5

For “criminal contraventions” the maximum term for an adult is two-years' imprisonment, and so for a child, the maximum term would be imprisonment for one year.6

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Andorra

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence under Andorran law, regardless of age.7

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person can be held liable for a criminal offence committed while they were under the age of 12.8

Maximum sentences

The Qualified Law on Juvenile Justice provides that detention in a closed regime may not exceed a third of the penalty laid out in the Criminal Code.9 The maximum penalty permitted under the Criminal Code is 25 years' imprisonment for multiple offences sentenced simultaneously.10 The maximum period of detention for children should not, therefore, exceed eight years and four months.

Number of children in detention

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Armenia

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited under Armenian law for persons under the age of 18.11 A person serving a life sentence may be released on parole, however, where he or she has served no less than 20 years of imprisonment.12

Meaning of life imprisonment

A life sentence is defined as “imprisonment in a corrective institution without time-limit”.13

Minimum age of criminal liability

Persons aged 16 years or older may be held criminally liable for all crimes14 and children aged 14 years or older may be held criminally liable for certain named offences.15

Maximum sentences for single offences

Persons aged 16 to 18 years: may be sentenced to up to 10 years' imprisonment for a single offence classified as “grave” or “particularly grave”.

Persons under 16 years: may be sentenced to no more than seven years' imprisonment for a single “grave” or “particularly grave” offence

For a single crime of “medium-gravity” no minor may be sentenced to more than three years' imprisonment.16

Maximum cumulative sentences

Where a minor commits a number of offences where a single sentence is to be passed, the maximum term of imprisonment cannot exceed 12 years.17

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Austria

Life imprisonment

Limits on sentences applicable to children rule out the possibility of life imprisonment for persons under 18.

Meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment includes a period of indefinite detention, but a person serving a life sentence becomes eligible for parole if he or she: (i) has served 15 years in detention; (ii) the gravity of offence does not require continued detention; and he or she (iii) consents.18

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person who was under the age of 14 at the time he or she committed an offence can be subject to punishment.19

A person aged 14 or 15 cannot be subject to criminal penalties where his or her misconduct is not “serious” and where the application of juvenile justice is not necessary to prevent young people from criminal acts.20

Maximums sentences

Maximum sentences of detention are generally halved for persons under 18.21 Where a person aged over 16 but under 18 is convicted of an offence for which life imprisonment may be applied to an adult, he or she may be sentenced to up to 15 years detention. For persons under the age of 16 the corresponding sentence would be up to 10 years detention.22

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Azerbaijan

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for persons aged under 18 at the time they committed the relevant offence.23

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is an indeterminate sentence, but no less than 25 years must be served in prison.24

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children aged 16 years or older may be held criminally liable for all crimes25 and children aged 14 years or older may be held criminally responsible for certain named offences.26

Administrative Commissions may consider the cases of all children younger than 14 years of age and impose disciplinary measures including detention within “special correctional schools”.27

Maximum sentences

Persons older than 14 but younger than 18 years: cannot be sentenced to a term of more than 10 years' imprisonment.28

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Belarus

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for offences committed while under the age of 18.29

The meaning of life imprisonment

After a person serving life imprisonment has served 20 years in detention, the Court has the discretion to replace further detention with imprisonment with a fixed term of no more than five years.30

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Children can be held criminally responsible for all offences from the age of 16 and for a large number of specifically named offences from the age of 14.31 Though offences for which a lower minimum age of criminal responsibility applies are generally violent in nature, offences such as hooliganism and theft are also included.32

Maximum sentences

A person under the age of 18 can only be subject to penalties under Chapter 15 of the Criminal Code, specifically public works, fines, deprivation of the right to engage in certain activities, correctional work, arrest, restriction of freedom and imprisonment.33

There is a sliding scale of caps on the length of imprisonment to which a child offender can be sentenced. For “less serious offences” the maximum term of imprisonment is three years; for felonies, seven years; for serious crimes 10 years; and for particularly serious offences combined with the wilful “infringement” of human life, 12 years.34

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Belgium

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for persons who were under the age of 18 at the time they committed a crime.35

The meaning of life imprisonment

Persons sentenced to life imprisonment become eligible for parole after serving 15 years, though this minimum period can be extended for those who have prior convictions to 19 or 23 years.36

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children can be held criminally liable from the age of 12.37

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 16 and 17 can be tried under the adult criminal justice system for particularly serious crimes,38 and subject to adult penalties, though life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for all persons under the age of 18.39 CRIN has not been able to ascertain what the maximum penalty would be in place of life imprisonment.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence under national law, regardless of age.40

Minimum age of criminal liability

Persons under 14 years of age at the time an offence was committed cannot be held criminally liable.41

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 14 or 15 at the time an offence is alleged to have been committed may not be sentenced to imprisonment, only educational measures may be imposed.42

Persons aged 16 or 17 at the time an offence is alleged to have been committed cannot be sentenced to a term of imprisonment shorter than one year or longer than ten years.43 The sentence may not exceed the maximum term prescribed for that offence, but cannot be less than than the minimum punishment.44

  • Punishment in such cases can only be applied where a person 16 or 17 years old has been convicted of an offence (i) for which a term exceeding five years has been prescribed; and (ii) it would not be justifiable to apply an educational measure because of the grave consequences of the offence and the high degree of criminal responsibility45
  • In making a sentence of juvenile imprisonment the court must take into consideration “all circumstances that may influence the sentence being longer or shorter” whilst paying special attention to the level of mental development of the juvenile and the time needed for his or her correction and occupational training.46

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Bulgaria

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for any person who was under the age of 20 at the time they committed the relevant offence.47

The meaning of life imprisonment

Imprisonment for life is defined as detention of a convicted person for the remainder of his or her life.48 Life imprisonment can be substituted for deprivation of liberty for 30 years when a person has served no less than 20 years' imprisonment.49

Minimum age of criminal liability

Persons under the age of 14 cannot be held criminally responsible, though they may be subject to educational measures where they have committed socially dangerous acts.50 A person aged 14 to 18 can only be held criminally liable if he or she was able to understand the nature and meaning of the act and manage their actions.51

Maximum sentences

Children aged 14 to 16 may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three to 10 years for offences for which an adult would be liable to life imprisonment.52 The Criminal Code provides similar translations from the equivalent of adult sentences for lesser offences.

Children aged 16 or 17 may be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years' imprisonment for offences that would attract “life imprisonment without substitution”.53

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Croatia

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for persons of any age in Croatia, though a maximum cumulative sentence of 50 years' imprisonment is possible for adults.54

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment has now been abolished in Croatia, but prior to abolition, a person serving a life sentence became eligible to be conditionally released after serving 20 years' imprisonment.55 Life sentences expired after 15 years had been served on conditional release.56

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person can be tried for an offence committed while under the age of 14, and any case involving a person under that age must be dealt with by the Centre for Social Welfare.57

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 16 or 17 can be sentenced to juvenile imprisonment, which cannot be for a period in excess of 10 years and may only exceed five years if the offence carries a sentence of “long-term imprisonment” or where two concurrent criminal offences have been committed which carry more than 10 years' imprisonment.58

Persons aged under 16 can only be sentenced to correctional measures,59 a group of sentencing options which excludes imprisonment, though does permit for children to be referred to “correctional institutions”, “reformatories” and “special correctional institutions”.60

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Cyprus

Life imprisonment

Detention at the Governor's pleasure and life imprisonment are both lawful sentences for persons under the age of 18.

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is defined as the extent of a person's biological life. Release can occur if permission is granted by the President in consultation with the Attorney-General.61 In practice such releases have occurred, in total 11 times between 1993 and the 2008 decision of Kafkaris v. Cyprus.62

  • In the European Court of Human Rights Case, Kafkaris v Cyprus [2008], the Court held that an “irreducible” life sentence would constitute prohibited treatment under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment). This means that release from prison must be de jure and de facto possible for a sentence of life imprisonment to be compatible with the Convention, though release need not actually occur.63 On the facts, release at the discretion of the President upon consultation with the Attorney-General, was considered to constitute such a de jure and de facto possibility of release.64
  • Note: in determining whether life imprisonment constituted torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, the Court noted that in some cases age could be relevant in assessing whether the treatment, its physical or mental effects” reached the prohibited standard.65 Life imprisonment for persons under 18 was not directly addressed. See the section on life imprisonment and the European Court of Human rights for more information.

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children under the age of 14 cannot be held criminally responsible.66

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 17 are not defined as children, young persons or juveniles and so appear to be subject to the adult justice system. Life imprisonment is a penalty for a number of offences in Cypriot criminal law, and is mandatory for murder.

A person aged 14 to 16 years (“a young person”) can only be sentenced to imprisonment where he or she cannot be suitably dealt with under the Juvenile Offenders Law (Cap. 157). There does not appear to be any express limitation on terms that can be served by “young persons” and since life imprisonment is a penalty in Cypriot criminal law, presumably children can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Detention at the Governor's pleasure: under the Criminal Code 1959, persons under 16 had to be sentenced to detention during the Governor's pleasure in lieu of the death penalty. The death penalty has since been prohibited in Cyprus and an up to date version of the legislation is not available online, so it is not clear if this sentence still exists and, if so, in what form.67

Number of children serving life imprisonment

CRIN has not been able to locate statistical information on the number of people serving life imprisonment or detention during Her Majesty's pleasure for an offence committed while under the age of 18.

Czech Republic

Life imprisonment

The maximum sentences that can be applied to persons under the age of 18 exclude the possibility of life imprisonment.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a sentence of life imprisonment may be conditionally released on parole after serving 20 years of imprisonment.68

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person who was under the age of 15 at the time he or she is alleged to have committed an offence can be held criminally liable.69

Maximum sentences

Generally, persons aged between 15 to 17 (inclusive) are sentenced to half of that applied to an adult, but the sentence may not be less than one year or more than five years.

For offences listed under the Special Part of the Criminal Code, the court may sentence a person under the age of 18 to between five and 10 years' imprisonment70 and for crimes committed by juveniles while serving as a soldier “at the time of defence emergency or in a combat situation.71

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Denmark

Life imprisonment

There is no express prohibition on life imprisonment for children, but the maximum sentences for persons under 18 are set at less than life imprisonment.

The meaning of life imprisonment

After 12 years of a life sentence has been served, the Minister of Justice determines whether an offender should be released on probation.72

Minimum age of criminal liability

No one can be subject to criminal penalties for actions committed while under the age of 15.73

Maximum sentences

Persons under the age of 18 at the time of the relevant offence cannot be sentenced to more than eight years' imprisonment.74

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Estonia

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is expressly prohibited for any person who was under the age of 18 at the time they committed an offence.75

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person sentenced to life imprisonment may be released on parole after serving 30 years' imprisonment.76 In deciding whether to release a person on parole, the court must consider the circumstances relating to the commission of the criminal offence, the personality of the convicted offender, his or her previous conduct during the service of the sentence, his or her living conditions and the consequences which release on parole may bring about for the person serving the sentence.77

Minimum age of criminal liability

A child under the age of 14 at the time he or she allegedly committed a criminal act cannot be held criminally responsible.78 However, children aged seven or older who commit unlawful acts may be subject to sanctions under the Juvenile Sanctions Act, including committal to a “young offenders' institution”.79

Maximum sentences

Imprisonment of more than 10 years cannot be imposed on a person who was under the age of 18 years at the commission of the offence.80

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Finland

Life imprisonment prohibited

No provisions exist in national law to allow for life imprisonment of persons under 18.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a life sentence may be conditionally released after serving 12 years of imprisonment. For a person under the age of 21 at the time the offence was committed, this period is reduced to 10 years in prison.81

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children under 15 years cannot be held criminally liable for any offence.82 Measures that can be applied to children under 15 are contained within the Child Welfare Act.

The courts have the power to waive punishment of an offence committed by a person under 18 years of age, where “the act is deemed to be the result of his/her thoughtlessness or imprudence rather than his/her being heedless of the prohibitions and commands of the law”83

Maximum sentences

A person's aged 15-18 is liable to be sentenced to between 2 years and 12 years' imprisonment for an offence that would be punishable with life imprisonment for an adult.84

The court are granted discretion with regards to minimum terms, whereby they may sentence an offender to less than the minimum term “for special reasons which are to be mentioned in the judgment”, though not where the public interest demands otherwise.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

France

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful penalty for any offence committed while under the age of 18. France abolished life imprisonment for offences committed by children in October 2016.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person sentenced to life imprisonment must serve a “safety period” before he or she becomes eligible for parole. This safety period must be at least 18 years and may be as much as 30 years' imprisonment.85

Minimum age of criminal liability

Persons under the age of 18 “able to understand what they are doing” are criminally responsible for the felonies, misdemeanours or petty offences of which they have been found guilty, and may be subject to measures of protection, assistance, supervision and education according to the conditions laid down by specific legislation.86 There is no absolute minimum age set at which children become able to be held criminally responsible, but a child will usually be considered to have “discernment” between the ages of 8 and 10.87

Children aged 13 to 18 years can be criminally sentenced,88 including to prison terms and children aged 16 to 18 can in certain circumstances be subjected to adult sentences. See below.

Maximum sentences

Persons under 18 are generally sentenced to no more than half of the sentence permitted for adults.89

However, the court may decide that children aged between 16 and 18 are entitled to no reduction in the adult sentence where: (i) the circumstances of the case and the personality of the child warrant; (ii) when a crime of wilful injury to life or physical or mental integrity of the person has been committed in a state of recidivism; (iii) when an offence of assault, an offence of sexual assault, a crime committed with the aggravating circumstance of violence was committed in a state of recidivism.90

Persons under 16 may not be sentenced to more than 20 years' imprisonment for offences for which life imprisonment is the adult penalty.92

Number of children serving life imprisonment

As of June 2013, only two people had been sentenced to life imprisonment in France for offences committed while under the age of 18, though the conviction of one of these people was overturned, so only one person is currently serving a life sentence in France for a crime committed while under the age of 18.93

Georgia

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is expressly prohibited for any person who had not reached 18 at the time an alleged offence was committed.94

Meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is an indeterminate sentence of which no less than 25 years must be served in detention. After 25 years, the person may be released if the court holds that “it is no longer necessary” for him or her to continue serving the sentence.95

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person under the age of 14 at the time an alleged offence was committed can be held criminally responsible.96 The State lowered the minimum age to 12 in 2008, but has since reinstated it at 14.

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 16 and 17 cannot be sentenced to more than 15 years' imprisonment, for any “especially grave crime”.97

Persons aged 14 and 15 cannot be sentenced to more than 10 years' imprisonment.98

Maximum sentences for multiple offences

Cumulative sentences for more than one offence are not specifically addressed by the section of the Criminal Code specific to juveniles, so it is not clear if the cumulative sentence provisions of the Code apply to children. The maximum term permitted for cumulative sentences is 30 years' imprisonment.99

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Germany

Life imprisonment

The maximum period of detention to which anyone under 18 may be sentenced rules out the possibility of life imprisonment of children.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a sentence of life imprisonment can become eligible for early release after having served 15 years in detention provided that (i) the seriousness of the offence does not require continued detention; (ii) the release is appropriate considering public security interests; and (iii) the convicted person consents.100

Minimum age of criminal liability

No one who was younger than 14 at the time an alleged offence was committed can be held criminally responsible.101 Children aged 14 to 18 can be criminally liable where at the time of the offence, he or she was mature enough to see the injustice of the act and to act upon this knowledge.102

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 14 to 17 (inclusive) can generally be sentenced to no more than 5 years' imprisonment, though for very serious crimes for which an adult could be sentenced to more than 10 years of imprisonment, the maximum sentence is 10 years.103

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Greece

Life imprisonment

The maximum limit set on detention for persons under 18 rules out the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

Meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a sentence of life imprisonment will become eligible for release on parole after serving no less than 16 years, and no more than 20 years.104

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Children between the ages of 8 and 13 cannot be held criminally liable for an offence, and can only be subject to educational or therapeutic measures for committing acts that would be criminal offences for an older person.105 Children aged 13 to 15 at the time of committing a criminal act may only be subject to reformatory or therapeutic measures,106 and a child aged 15 to 18 may be sentenced to penalties including deprivation of liberty.107

Maximum sentences

Sentences of detention in special detention institutions may not exceed 20 years108 nor be less than 5 years if the law punishes an offence with more than 10 years' imprisonment.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Hungary

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for persons who were under the age of 20 at the time they committed the relevant offence.109

Meaning of life imprisonment

When sentencing a person to life imprisonment, the court may set a date at which that person may be considered for parole.110 The minimum term that must be served is generally 25 years.111 For the most serious offences, the court may also decline to set a date at which parole becomes possible,112 a provision which may amount to an irreducible life sentence and fail to meet the standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights.113

Minimum age of criminal liability

People can be held criminally responsible for any offence committed from the age of 14, and from the age of 12 for homicide, voluntary manslaughter, battery, robbery and plundering, provided that the child had the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of his or her act.114

Maximum sentences for a single offence

Persons aged 16 or 17 cannot be sentenced to more than 15 years for a crime that would be punishable by life imprisonment if committed by an adult, and can be sentenced to no more than 10 years for a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment in excess of 10 years.115

Persons under the age of 16 can be sentenced to no more than 10 years' imprisonment for an offence for which an adult could be sentenced to life imprisonment.116

Maximum sentences for multiple offences

For persons aged 16 or 17, the maximum cumulative term applied for a number of offences sentenced simultaneously must not exceed 20 years in relation to multiple crimes involving those for which a life sentence could be applied to an adult.117

For persons aged 14 or 15, the maximum cumulative term applicable is 15 years' imprisonment for crimes involving those for which and adult could be sentenced to life imprisonment.118

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Iceland

Life imprisonment

The maximum term to which a person under 18 can be sentenced excludes the possibility of life imprisonment.

The meaning of life imprisonment

There are no express provisions on parole for those serving life sentences in Iceland, but life prisoners are able to apply for commutation by way of a pardon. Though life imprisonment is a lawful penalty, it has never been imposed.119

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person can be punished for an offence committed whilst under the age of 15.120

Maximum sentences

Persons under 18 cannot be sentenced to imprisonment for a period in excess of 8 years.121 During Iceland's 2011 report to the European Social Charter, the State reported that the maximum prison term that a child was serving was 5½ years.122

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Ireland

Life imprisonment

It is unclear whether life imprisonment remains possible for persons under the age of 18 under Irish law, though it is not included within the sentencing provisions applicable to children under the Children Act 2001.123

Meaning of life imprisonment

Life sentences provide for indeterminate detention which may extend to an entire life. The Minister for Justice and Equality determines release upon the advice and recommendations of the Parole Board of Ireland. The average period of detention for those serving life sentences is approximately 12 years.124

Minimum age of criminal liability

Persons under the age of 12 cannot generally be held liable for any criminal offence,125 but children aged 10 or 11 can be held criminally liable for murder, manslaughter, rape, rape under section 4 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 or aggravated sexual assault.126

Where a child under the age of 14 years is charged with a criminal offence, no further proceedings can be taken without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.127

Maximum sentences

As a general rule, children may not be sentenced to adult penalties and may be sentenced to lesser penalties where provided for in the Children's Act.128 No child can be sentenced to imprisonment or committed to a prison, though children can be subject to detention.129

A person under 18 years can only be sentenced to detention as a measure of last resort130 and only where it is the only suitable way of dealing with the child.131

Children sentenced to be detained in a children detention school may not generally be so detained for more than 3 years.132 This sentence includes aggregate sentences related to consecutive periods of detention.133

Where a child under the age of 16 years is convicted on indictment (a procedure for more serious criminal offences), it is possible to exceed this three year limit where “none of the other ways in which the case may be dealt with is adequate”.134 When the child reaches 16, he or she can be transferred from a detention school children detention centre upon application to the courts.135 Children over the age of 18 may be transferred from a children detention school or detention centre to a place of detention under section 2 Act of 1970 or to a prison.136 No child may be sentenced to a term of detention for longer than that applicable to an adult of full capacity for the relevant offence.137

Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act provides that life imprisonment shall be a mandatory penalty for murder or treason, it is not clear what the maximum sentence would be for children.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

CRIN found no evidence that anyone was subjected to a life sentence for a crime committed while under the age of 18.

Italy

Life imprisonment prohibited

The Constitutional Court abolished the life imprisonment of minors in a decision in 1994.138

The meaning of life imprisonment

Persons serving life imprisonment in Italy become eligible for release after serving 26 years of imprisonment.139

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children under the age of 14 cannot be held criminally liable for any offence and persons aged 14 to 17 (inclusive) can only be held criminally liable where they have been judged capable of forming the necessary criminal intent in relation to the specific offence.140

Maximum sentences

Sentences are reduced by two-thirds for persons aged 14 or 15 and by half for those committed by persons aged 16 or 17.141

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Latvia

Life imprisonment

The maximum penalties for persons under the age of 18 exclude the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a sentence of life imprisonment becomes eligible for conditional release after serving 25 years in detention.142

Minimum age of criminal liability

A person cannot be held criminally liable for an offence allegedly committed while under the age of 14.143

Maximum sentences

For persons aged 14 to 18 there are limits for the maximum terms of deprivation of liberty that can be applied, but none can exceed 10 years. A sliding scale provides for maximum terms that apply with regards to the seriousness of the offence:144

  • For “especially serious offences” a person under 18 years can be sentenced to no longer than 10 years
  • For “serious crimes”, crimes which are associated with violence or the threat of violence or which have given rise to serious consequences, children can be sentenced to no more than 5 years
  • For “other serious crimes” the maximum term to which children may be sentenced is two years.
  • For “criminal violations” and for “less serious crimes” deprivation of liberty cannot be applied.

For a person under 18, the court may sentence the offender to less than the prescribed minimum sanction where the court recognises that the offence “has been committed under aggravating circumstances”.145

A person who is convicted of an offence while under the age of 18 and who has served the sentence is deemed not to have been convicted.146

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Liechtenstein

Life imprisonment

Maximum sentences for persons aged under 18 exclude the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

Meaning of life imprisonment

A person sentenced to life imprisonment cannot be considered for parole until he or she has served 15 years in prison.147

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Persons under the age of 14 at the time an offence was committed cannot be held criminally liable.148

Maximum sentences

Research conducted by the University of San Francisco Law School indicates that children aged 16 or over can be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years' imprisonment and those under 16 can be sentenced to no more than 10 years' imprisonment. The information was gained through correspondence with the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein at the United Nations.149 CRIN has not been able to verify the information, but the Criminal Code sets the maximum sentence for persons under the age of 21 at the time an offence was committed at 20 years' imprisonment.150

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Lithuania

Life imprisonment

The maximum sentences for persons under 18 excludes the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

The meaning of life imprisonment

Persons serving a sentence of life imprisonment are held in prisons, but can be transferred to “a house of correction” after serving 10 years' imprisonment. A life sentence can be commuted to fixed term of not less than 25 years' imprisonment.151

Minimum age of criminal liability

Generally, a person can only be held responsible for a crime or misdemeanour if he or she has attained the age of 16.152

Persons aged 14 or older can be found guilty of a number of specific offences named under Article 13(2) of the Criminal Code. These offences include murder; serious impairment to health; rape; sexual harassment; theft; robbery; extortion of property; destruction of or damage to property; seizure of a firearm, ammunition, explosives or explosive materials; theft, racketeering or other illicit seizure of narcotic or psychotropic substances; damage to vehicles or roads and facilities thereof.153

Maximum sentences

Imprisonment for minors cannot exceed 10 years.154 Under the Criminal Code, the provisions applicable to minors apply to persons under the age of 18.155

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Luxembourg

Life imprisonment

The State has reported that in Luxembourg “[c]apital punishment no longer exists and, in view of the circumstances, there will be no sentence of life imprisonment”.156 Life imprisonment is possible for adults, and since 16 and 17-year-olds can be tried as adults, it may be possible for children to be so sentenced under the current law.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving life imprisonment may become liable for release after serving 15 years in prison.157

Minimum age of criminal liability

The Law on the Protection of Children (Loi du 10 Août 1992 relative à la protection de la jeunesse) provides that generally persons under 18 must be dealt with by the youth courts,158 where measures taken are aimed at protection, care, therapy and education.159

However, children can be directed to the adult courts and subject to adult penalties from the age of 16.160 Furthermore, the powers of the Youth Court are in some circumstances of a penal or correctional nature, including deprivation of liberty generally and solitary confinement of up to 10 days.161 There is no lower age limit for these measures.

Maximum sentences

The maximum sentence applicable for offences committed while under the age of 18 seems to be 20 years beyond reaching the age of 21,162 but CRIN has not been able to confirm this. Life imprisonment may also be possible for child offenders.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

CRIN found no evidence of a person being sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence committed while under the age of 18.

Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of

Life imprisonment

No person may be sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime committed while under the age of 21 years.163

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a sentence of life imprisonment may not be released on parole before having served 15 years of imprisonment.164

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Criminal sanctions may not be applied to persons younger than fourteen years at the time they committed an offence. 165

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 14 to 16 years at the time they committed an offence, known as “younger juveniles” within the Criminal Code, can only be sentenced to educational measures.166

Persons aged 16 or 17 at the time they committed an offence may be sentenced to “juvenile detention” for between one and ten years.167

  • A person serving a sentence of juvenile imprisonment may be considered for parole if (i) he or she has served one third of the punishment, though not less than a year; (ii) if grounds exist to expect that correction and re-education allow that the person would behave well in freedom, continue his or her education and work and would not commit crimes in the future. While a person is on parole, he or she may be subject to measures of “intensified supervision”.168

Numbers of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Malta

Life imprisonment

It is not clear whether life imprisonment can be applied to children.

The meaning of life imprisonment

After sentencing a person to life imprisonment, the court may recommend in writing to the Prime Minister the minimum period which in its view should elapse before the prisoner is released from prison.169 No maximum period is set, so it is possible for a life sentence to lasts for the rest of a person's natural life, though the ECHR's rulings in Kafkaris v. Cyprus and Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom would prohibit irreducible life imprisonment.170

Where a person pleads guilty to a crime for which life imprisonment is a penalty, the court may impose a punishment of between 18 and 30 years in lieu of life imprisonment.171

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children under 9 cannot be held criminally responsible.172 Children aged 9 to 14 cannot be held criminally liable except for offences committed with “mischievous discretion”.173

Maximum sentences

Children aged 14 to 18: are liable to the punishment applied to an adult, but reduced by one or two degrees.174 This should prevent the application of life imprisonment to children, and render 30 years the maximum term to which a child could be sentenced. The State has reported that it is not aware of any instance of a person under 18 being so sentenced, but in commenting on the possibility that children could be sentenced to life indicated that such a sentence may always be circumvented.175 This implies that life imprisonment for persons under 18 may be legally possible, though it is not clear what the relevant provisions would be.

  • Research conducted by the University of San Francisco has indicated that children aged 17 could be sentenced to life imprisonment under article 37 of the Penal Code,176 though in the version that CRIN has been able to obtain, children aged 14-18 are grouped together, though those aged 16-18 are excluded from juvenile justice procedures.177 The only evidence CRIN has found is an article on amending the Criminal Code dated 28 November 2011,178 but no online version of the amended Act which includes this change, including that accessible through the Ministry of Justice.179

Number of children serving life imprisonment

CRIN could find no evidence of a person being sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence committed while under the age of 18..

Republic of Moldova

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited for juveniles.180

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is defined as “deprivation of liberty of the convict for the entire rest of his/her life”.181 Where mercy is granted in relation to a person serving life imprisonment, imprisonment must not be for less than 30 years.182

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children can be held criminally liable for all offences committed from the age of 16 onwards183 and for certain named offences from the age of 14.184

Maximum sentences for single offences

Persons under 18: the maximum period of detention that the court can impose is a term not exceeding 12 years and 6 months for a single offence.185

Maximum sentence for multiple offences

When sentencing for two or more minor and/or less serious crimes, the final punishment may combine milder and more severe penalties.186

Where a person under the age of 18 is convicted of a second offence before having served the term for an already sentenced offence, he or she may be sentenced to a term of not more than 15 years' imprisonment to include the remaining time to be spent in detention.187

Where setting a cumulative penalty for persons under the age of 18 who are not already serving a criminal sentence, the maximum cumulative sentence is 12 years and 6 months.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Monaco

Life imprisonment prohibited

The maximum sentence for persons under the age of 18 is set at less than life imprisonment.

The meaning of life imprisonment

The European Court of Human Rights, in Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom, found that life imprisonment in Monaco required a minimum period of 15 years' imprisonment to be served, after which it became possible to review whether a person should remain in detention.188

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No person can be held criminally liable for an offence committed while under the age of 13.189

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 13 to 18 cannot be sentenced to more than 20 years' imprisonment190 and the penalty may not exceed half of the corresponding sentence for an adult.191

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Montenegro

Life imprisonment prohibited

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence, regardless of age.192

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person can be subject to criminal sanctions for the commission of a criminal offence while under the age of 14.193

Maximum sentences for single offences

Persons aged 14 and 15 at the time an offence was committed can only be punished by educational measures, not by imprisonment.194 Educational measures can include committal to a reformatory educational centre as well as committal to an educational institution or correctional home.195

Persons aged 16 and 17 generally may not be detained for less than six months or more than eight years, but where the minimum term of detention for an adult would be a prison term of ten years, juveniles may be sentenced to imprisonment of up to ten years.196

A person sentenced to juvenile imprisonment may be released on parole if he or she has served one third of the pronounced sentence, provided that at least one year has been served and it can reasonably be expected, based on success in correcting conduct, that such a person will behave correctly while at large and will not commit future criminal offences.

Maximum sentences for multiple offences

Where a sentence is passed for more than one offence committed by a person under 18, the maximum sentence that can be passed is of 20 years' imprisonment, though the term cannot be more than the sum of all of the offences individually sentenced.197

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence regardless of age.

Netherlands

Life imprisonment

Persons between the ages of 16 and 18 can be tried as adults in exceptional circumstances, but in mainland Netherlands cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment.198 It is possible that persons under 18 may be sentenced to life imprisonment in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.

The meaning of life imprisonment

In defining life imprisonment the Dutch Penal Code provides that “[when an] offender has been sentenced to life imprisonment, such deprivation shall be for life”.199 There is no provision for parole, but people serving life sentences can apply for commutation.200

Minimum age of criminal liability

Children can be held criminally liable for offences committed from the age of 12.201

Maximum sentences

In European Netherlands, children aged 16 to 18 cannot be sentenced to more than six years penal detention, and only beyond 24 months where a person has been convicted of a serious, violent or sexual offence.202

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has raised concerns that children may be sentenced to life imprisonment in the Netherlands Antilles,203 but CRIN has been unable to obtain the relevant legislation to verify this.

The State has reported that life imprisonment is not possible for persons under 18 in Aruba, but children aged 16 to 18 can be tried as adults in limited circumstances, so it is possible that life imprisonment remains possible under current legislation.204

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Norway

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful penalty for any offence in Norway, regardless of age.

Minimum age of criminal liability

No person can be punished for an offence committed while under the age of 15.205

Maximum sentences

For premeditated homicide or homicide committed to conceal another felony or to evade the penalty for another felony, the maximum prison term is 21 years.206

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence regardless of age.

Poland

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is expressly prohibited for any offence committed while the perpetrator was under the age of 18.207

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person sentenced to “deprivation of liberty for life” becomes eligible for conditional released after serving 25 years of the sentence.208 When a person serving a sentence of deprivation of liberty for life is conditionally released, they remain on probation for 10 years209, and remain eligible to be detained while still on probation. If release is revoked, a person serving a life sentence cannot be released again until he or she has served a further 5 years in detention.210

Minimum age of criminal liability

Any person aged 17 or over is liable to be tried for any criminal offence under the Criminal Code.211 For offences specifically listed in Art. 10(2) children can be tried from the age of 15.212

Some commentators have argued that Poland does not have a minimum age of criminal responsibility, as courts have powers to impose measures in response to evidence of “demoralisation” of a child. Such measures include educative, protective and therapeutic measures, which can include deprivation of liberty for indeterminate periods and are not subject to age limits.213

Maximum sentences

For offences specified under Article 10(2) of the Criminal Code, certain named offences involving violence or risk to life or health, a person aged 15 or older cannot be sentenced to more than 2/3 of the sentence that would be applied to an adult.214

  • The maximum sentence for an adult, excluding life imprisonment which cannot be applied to persons under 18, is deprivation of liberty for 25 years. As such, the maximum term to which a person under 18 could be sentenced would be 2/3 of 25 years, or 16 years and 8 months.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Portugal

Life imprisonment

Article 30(1) of the Constitution of Portugal provides that “[n]o sentence or security measure that deprives or restricts freedom shall be perpetual in nature or possess an unlimited or undefined duration” and article 33(4) prohibits extradition in relation to crimes for which a person may be sentenced to restriction of freedom in perpetuity or for an undefined duration, unless a guarantee is secured that such a penalty will not be applied.215

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Persons under the age of 16 cannot be held criminally liable.216 Persons aged between 12 and 16 can be subject to penalties under the Guardianship and Education Law, which allows for the detention of children in closed educational centres.217

Maximum sentences

The Criminal Code provides that no person may be sentenced to more than 25 years' imprisonment for any offence.218 CRIN has not been able to ascertain whether a lower limit is in place for persons under the age of 18 at the time an offence was committed.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Romania

Life imprisonment

Limits on the sentencing of children exclude the possibility of life imprisonment for persons under the age of 18.

Meaning of life imprisonment

Persons sentenced to life imprisonment must serve 20 years in detention before becoming eligible for parole.219 If a person serving a sentence of life reaches 60 while serving that sentence, he or she may be released on parole after having served 15 years in detention.220 If after 10 years from parole being granted, the sentenced person has committed no new offences, the sentence is deemed to have been served.221

In order to be eligible for parole, a sentenced person must demonstrate that he or she has been “consistent at work, well disciplined and [has shown] serious improvement, also taking into account the criminal antecedents”.222

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No one under the age of 14 can be held criminally liable.223

A child aged 14 to 16 can only be held criminally liable where it can be proved that he or she had “discernment”.224

Children over the age of 16 are held criminally liable “within the framework of the system of sanctions applicable to minors”.225

Maximum sentences

For offences for which an adult would be sentenced to life imprisonment, a person between the ages of 14 and 18 would be sentenced to between 5 and 15 years of “strict imprisonment”.226

For offences for which an adult would be sentenced to “severe detention” a person between the ages of 14 and 18 would be sentenced to between 3 and 12 years “strict imprisonment”.227

For any offence for which the law provides for “strict imprisonment” for an adult, a person between the ages of 14 and 18 will have that sentenced reduced by half, and the sentence may not exceed 3 years “strict imprisonment”.228

Strict imprisonment is a form of detention in closed facilities which must be designated for the detention of persons serving such sentences.229 Other limits are set for imprisonment other than strict imprisonment, fines, and community service.230

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for offences committed while under the age of 18.

Russian Federation

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is expressly prohibited as a penalty for any offence committed while under the age of 18.231

The meaning of life imprisonment

Persons serving sentences of “deprivation of liberty for life” must serve a minimum of 25 years in detention before becoming eligible for conditional release. If a person serving a life sentence commits “a grave or especially grave” offence while serving that sentence, he or she ceases to be eligible for conditional release.232

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

A child can be held criminally liable for any offence committed from the age of 16.233

A person aged 14 or older can be held criminally liable for a number of offences specifically listed in Article 20(2) of the Criminal Code.234

Children under the age of 14 can be subjected to court orders placing them in temporary confinement of up to 30 days for committing “socially dangerous acts”.235 CRIN has not been able to find recent figures for such detentions, but as of 1999, 54,800 children were subject to such measures, falling to 30,000 in 2000 and 24,400 in 2001.236

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 14 or 15 cannot generally be sentenced to detention of more than 6 years, though for “especially grave crimes” they can be sentenced to up to 10 years detention.237

Persons aged 16 or 17, cannot be sentenced to detention for more than 10 years.238

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

San Marino

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any person in San Marino, regardless of age.

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No person under the age of 12 can be charged with a criminal offence.239

Maximum sentences

The State has reported that the maximum sentence that a person under 18 can be subjected to is detention for 30 years.240

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence regardless of age.

Serbia

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence under Serbian law, regardless of age.

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No person can be subjected to criminal sanctions for an offence committed while under the age of 14.241

Maximum sentences for single offence

Persons age 16 and 17 (“elder juveniles”)242 can generally be sentenced to juvenile detention243 for a term that cannot exceed five years, but for offences for which an adult may be sentenced to 20 years or more, the maximum sentence is 10 years.244

Persons aged 14 or 15 (“younger juveniles”)245 can only be sentenced to educational measures.246

Maximum sentences for multiple offences

Where a person under 18 is sentenced for two or more offences simultaneously, the combined sentence may not exceed 10 years.247

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence regardless of age.

Slovakia

Life imprisonment

The maximum sentences permitted for persons under the age of 18 prevent the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

In 2010, the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture found that Slovakian law permitted life imprisonment for child offenders and recommended that the State consider abolishing the sentence.248 The Slovakian Government refuted this claim249 and the Criminal Code does not include any provision that would permit a person to be sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence committed while under the age of 18.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a term of life imprisonment may be conditionally discharged after serving at least 25 years,250 but may not be conditionally discharged if “repeatedly sentenced to life imprisonment”.251

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Any person under the age of 14 upon committing what would otherwise be a criminal offence may not be held criminally liable.252 No one may be held criminally liable for sexual abuse if he or she has not reached the age of 15.253

Maximum sentences

Persons under 18 cannot generally be sentenced to more than 7 years detention, and in any event cannot be detained for more than half of the maximum sentence applicable for an adult.254

If a young offender has committed (i) “a particularly serious felony; (ii) the degree of seriousness for society is extremely high because of the “despicable mode of the commission of an act” or because of “despicable reasons” or the adverse and irreversible consequence; then the court can impose a sentence of between 7 and 15 years if it believes that a lesser sentence would “not be sufficient for the attainment of the purpose”.255

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Slovenia

Life imprisonment

The maximum penalties for persons under 18 exclude the possibility of life imprisonment for children.

The meaning of life imprisonment

A person serving a life sentence becomes eligible for parole after serving 25 years' imprisonment.256 In deciding whether to release a person on parole the following must be taken into account:

(i) the possibility of re-offending; (ii) any criminal offences taking place against the offender for offences committed before they started serving their prison sentence; (iii) the attitude of the offender towards the criminal offence committed and towards the victim; (iv) the offender's conduct during his or her sentence; (v) the success of any treatment of addiction; and (vi) the conditions for the offender's reintroduction to life outside prison.257

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Children under the age of 14 cannot be sentenced to criminal penalties.258 Children under the age of 14 criminal responsibility can, however, be committed to juvenile institutions equivalent to those used for older children in conflict with the law.259

Maximum sentences

For crimes for which an adult could be sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, no person under 18 can be sentenced to more than 10 years “juvenile detention”.260

Children aged 14 and 15 can only be sentenced to “educational measures”.261

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Spain

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not lawful under Spanish law for any offence committed by any person of any age.262

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No child can be held criminally responsible for an act committed while under the age of 14, but younger children who carry out what would otherwise be a criminal act can be subject to protection measures.263

Maximum sentence for single offences

A person under the age of 18 can be sentenced to closed detention for a single offence if:

(i) the facts establish that the person has committed a felony under the Penal Code or special penal laws; (ii) the relevant crime was classified as a misdemeanour, but involved violence or intimidation against persons or has generated serious risk to life or physical safety; or (iii) the acts are classified as crimes committed in groups, organisations or associations264

Persons aged 14 or 15 may be sentenced to a maximum of three years detention and persons aged 16 or 17 may not be sentenced to more than six years detention.265

Maximum sentence for multiple offences

A person under the age of 16 cannot be sentenced to more than six years closed detention for committing two or more related or continuing offences.266

A child over the age of 16 cannot be sentenced to more than 10 years “closed internment” for committing two or more related or continuing offences.267

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence regardless of age.

Sweden

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited as a sentence for an offence committed while under the age of 21.268

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is an indeterminate sentence which can theoretically last for the remainder of a person's natural life, but a person serving such a sentence may apply for it to be commuted to a fixed term after serving 10 years' imprisonment. The minimum fixed term that may then be set is 18 years' imprisonment.269

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No person can be subjected to a criminal sanction for an offence committed while under the age of 15.270

Maximum sentences for a single offence

Life imprisonment is prohibited for minors and imprisonment may only be imposed if “there are extraordinary reasons for so doing.”271 Generally the maximum penalty for offences committed while under the age of 21 is 10 years' imprisonment, but for murder, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.272

Maximum sentences for multiple offences

Where a persons is sentenced to imprisonment for several offences, the term may not exceed four years more than the most severe punishment. This provision would allow for a maximum prison term of 18 years where one of the offences was murder and 14 years if none of the offences were murder.273

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Switzerland

Life imprisonment

Limits on the detention of children prevent the imposition of life imprisonment on anyone under the age of 18.

Meaning of life imprisonment

Persons serving sentences of life imprisonment do not generally become eligible for parole unless they have served at least 15 years in detention but where there are exception personal circumstances they may be released on parole after serving 10 years' imprisonment.274

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No person can be subject to criminal penalties for acts committed while under the age of 10.275

Maximum sentences

Children aged 15 years at the time an offence was committed cannot be sentenced to more than one year of detention.276

A child aged 16 or over when an offence was committed may not be sentenced to more than four years in detention, and only where:

(i) he or she committed an offence for which an adult could be sentenced to detention of more than three months; or (ii) he or she has committed an offence under Article 122 of the Criminal Code, related to intentionally inflicting a life-threatening injury; or (iii) he or she commits robbery as a member of a group formed for the purposes of carrying out repeated robberies or thefts under Article 140(3) of the Criminal Code; or (iv) the behaviour of the offender is such as to show particular ruthlessness or the behaviour or purpose of the act reveal a highly reprehensible state of mind.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Turkey

Life imprisonment

The maximum sentences applicable to children make it unlawful to sentence a child to life imprisonment.

Meaning of life imprisonment

“Heavy life imprisonment” is a sentence that authorises the detention of a convicted person for the rest of his or her life in prison under specific security measures.277 A person serving such a sentence may be entitled to conditional release after serving 30 years in prison, provided that he or she spent the prison term in good behaviour. Where a person is sentenced to multiple life imprisonment sentences, one of which includes a sentence of heavy life imprisonment, release will not be possible until he or she has served 36 years in prison.278

“Life imprisonment” is a sentence that permits the detention of a person until his or her death.279 A person serving a life sentence will not be eligible for conditional release until he or she has served twenty-four years in prison, or 30 years for more than one sentence of life imprisonment.280

Where the relevant offences were committed for establishing or leading a criminal organisation, or for offences committed during the activities of such an organisation, maximum period before becoming eligible for conditional release may be extended to 40 years.281

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No child under the age of 12 on the day that an alleged offence was committed can be held criminally liable.282

No child between the ages of 12 and 14 (inclusive) when an offence is alleged to have been committed who did not “have the ability to perceive the legal meaning and consequences of the offence, or to control [his or her] actions” may be held criminally responsible.283

Maximum sentences

Persons aged between 15 and 18 at the time an offence was committed must be sentenced to between 14 and 20 years for an offence for which an adult could be sentenced to “heavy life imprisonment”. If an offence carries a sentence of life imprisonment for an adult, persons between the ages of 15 and 18 must be sentenced to between 9 and 12 years' imprisonment.

For any other offence, a person between the ages of 15 and 18 must be sentenced to half of the sentence applicable to an adult, but to not more than 8 years' imprisonment.284

A person aged 12 to 14 (inclusive) who had the ability to comprehend the offence that they committed may be sentenced to between 9 and 12 years if the offence requires heavy life imprisonment, seven to nine years if the offence requires life imprisonment. For any other offence, children within this age group may be sentenced to a third of the comparable sentence for an adult but to no more than six years' imprisonment.285

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

Ukraine

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is explicitly prohibited in relation to any offence committed while the offender was under the age of 18.286

The meaning of life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is an indeterminate sentence which can extend to detention for the rest of a person's life. There is no formal provision for parole for people serving life sentences, but the system for commutation is used as a means of releasing people serving such sentences.

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Generally, any person who commits a criminal offence from the age of 16, can be held criminally liable.287

Persons who have committed a number of specifically listed offences can be held criminally liable from the age of 14. These offences are largely violent in nature, but also include certain property offences.288

Maximum sentences

The maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed on a person who committed an offence whilst under the age of 18 is 15 years' imprisonment for “special grave offence[s] involving a murder”.289

15 years' imprisonment is also the maximum cumulative sentence that can be passed for the commission of multiple offences by a person under the age of 18.290

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Life imprisonment is not a lawful sentence for any offence committed while under the age of 18.

United Kingdom

There are three criminal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom: England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Juvenile justice legislation and practices vary between these jurisdictions so they are each addressed separately below.

England and Wales

Life imprisonment

Life imprisonment, detention at Her Majesty's pleasure and indeterminate detention for public protection can be applied to persons under the age of 18.

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

Children can be held liable for criminal offences from the age of 10.291

The meaning of life imprisonment

A sentence of life imprisonment in English law includes a tariff period, which is the minimum period of detention that a convicted person must serve. When a tariff period has been completed, the offender becomes eligible to be released on licence, but subject to the order of the Secretary of State as directed by the Parole Board. If released, a person subject to a life sentence is referred to as “on licence”, by which it is meant that he or she is subject to certain requirements which may involve supervision or limitations on movement. Should the requirements of the licence be breached, the person on licence can be “recalled”, that is returned to custody without further conviction. It is comparatively rare for a person on a life sentence to remain in custody for their entire natural life, but all persons on life sentences are subject to detention should they not fulfil the requirements of their licence.

When determining the tariff period, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out a series of “starting points” - a minimum term to be served proportionate to the severity of the offence.292 According to the specifics of the offence, the court must then deduct terms of imprisonment for mitigating factors and add years for aggravating factors. When a person is being sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence committed while under the age of 18, the starting point used to calculate the minimum term is 12 years.293

Maximum sentences

There are a number of lengthy sentences that, at the time of sentencing, would permit a child to be detained for the rest of his or her natural life.

If dealt with in a Youth Court (or other summary jurisdiction) the maximum custodial sentence will be 24 months. Life imprisonment is not possible if a person is sentenced by a Youth Court. Where a person is aged 14 or younger, he or she would normally be sentenced in a youth court, though for homicide offences or where that person comes within the definition of a “dangerous offender “ (see below) he or she would be sentenced in the Crown Court.

Where a case is heard in the Crown Court (a jurisdiction that is generally speaking reserved for more serious crimes) more severe penalties are available:

“Long term detention”: Could include life imprisonment with regards to certain named offences.294

  • Persons under 18 sentenced for offences for which a person over 21 would be sentenced to more than 14 years can be sentenced to a term that does not exceed that for which such an adult would be sentenced. This may include a life sentence.

 

Sentences for “dangerous offenders”295: (Criminal Justice Act 2003 Ch. 5):

  • Detention for life can be imposed for certain named offences.296 Life would be the maximum sentence for any offence committed by a person aged 10-18 who has been convicted of an offence, other than murder, for which a person aged 21 or over would be eligible for a discretionary life sentence.
  • Detention for public protection (DPP). An indeterminate sentence for the purposes of public protection.297 For the purposes of release, DPP sentences for persons under 18 are treated in many respects as life sentences.298

    • Can be applied (i) where a person under 18 is convicted of “a serious offence” (listed violent and sexual offences which, if committed by an adult, would be liable to a life sentence, or determinate sentence of 10 years or more) and (ii) the court considers that the offender poses a significant risk of serious harm by the commission of further “specified offence” (certain violent and sexual offences)

    • The offender would be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence. A tariff period is set as the minimum amount of time to be spent in detention at which point the offender becomes liable to release on licence. If the offender is released on licence, and not recalled, the licence can be brought to an end after 10 years if the Parole Board is satisfied that the licence is no longer necessary for the protection of the public. The Parole Board must then direct the Secretary of State to make an order ceasing the effect of the licence

    • The sentences have only existed since 1997, so it is not clear what the long term prospects are of those subject to them, but it is theoretically possible for a DPP sentence to last for life.

    • There has been serious criticism of IPP sentences (the adult equivalent of DPP. The Sainsbury Centre published figures in 2008299 which demonstrated that half of those on IPP sentences were suffering from problems with emotional well-being (higher than that for those serving life sentences). Indeterminacy of the sentence was found to have a damaging effect on personal relationships, and offenders found the refusal of parole difficult to cope with (especially when full compliance was forthcoming). Access to offender programmes is also difficult for those with mental health problems. There have also been cases (see Walker v James [2008]) in which the prison did not offer the resources (appropriate programmes) that would make the offenders eligible for release.

    • Since the relevant legislation came into force, 290 people between the ages of 10 and 17 have been sentenced to DPP. Such sentencing peaked in (70 that year) but fell to 27 in the 12 months ending in September 2011.300

Detention during Her Majesty's pleasure (DHMP):

  • Under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, s. 90, persons convicted of murder, who were under 18 at the commission of the offence, must be sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure

  • Detention at Her Majesty's pleasure is treated as a life sentence when considering parole, but has historically been classified as an indeterminate sentence by the judiciary.301 The starting point is 12 years. See the section on “the meaning of life imprisonment” above for more information on calculating minimum sentences.

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Detention at Her Majesty's pleasure. Since 1995, 408 people have been sentenced to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure for offences committed while under the age of 18. The average age of the person at the time of sentencing between 2008 and 2013 was 16 years and five months, but we were unable to access figures on how old the relevant people were at the time they committed the offence for which they were sentenced.302

As of November 2011, the Ministry of Justice reported that it did not hold the details of the number of people currently serving sentences of detention at Her Majesty's pleasure. In response to a Parliamentary Question, Lord McNally acknowledged “Many offenders sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure as children will have passed their 22nd birthday and will therefore now be being managed as adult life sentenced prisoners.” Data was available for individual case management, but was not held for statistical purposes. This meant that the government was not able to identify how many of the people held within the prison population were so held as a result of being sentenced to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure.303

Detention of persons under the age of 18 at the time of committing the offence. During the 2011/12 year, an average of 1,963 children were held in custody following sentencing, serving an average sentence of 13.1 months imprisonment.304 This showed a decrease in the average number of children detained from 2,040 the previous year and 2,801 in 2001/2.

Of those people under the age of 18 held in detention, a large majority were male (94 per cent) and an even larger majority were between the ages of 15 and 17 (96 per cent).

In January 2013, the Government revealed that five people under the age of 18 had been authorised to be moved to adult detention facilities during 2011.305

In the 12 months up to September 2011, 382 children were subject to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure or a lengthy sentence for which a person over the age of 21 would be able to more than 14 years. This is the lowest figure recorded in the last 10 years. Figures have shown a general downward trend since 2002, but have fluctuated.306

Northern Ireland

Life imprisonment

Children may be sentenced to detention “during the pleasure of the Secretary of State” (DSSP), which is the Northern Irish equivalent of “detention during Her Majesty's pleasure” in England and Wales. Under Northern Irish law, DSSP sentences are often treated as life sentences.307

Meaning of life imprisonment

Persons serving life sentences in Northern Ireland are given a “tariff period”, which is the minimum period to be served in detention. After the tariff period expires, the person serving the sentence becomes eligible for parole. The Parole Commission of Northern Ireland will consider release approximately 6 months before the expiry of the tariff period, and every two years should parole be refused. When released on parole from a life sentence, “license” conditions are applied which place restrictions and requirements on the person serving the sentence. Should a person breach the conditions attached to their license, they are subject to recall to custody.308

Minimum age of criminal responsibility

No child under the age of 10 can be found guilty of a criminal offence.309

Maximum sentences

Any person under the age of 18 who would be sentenced to life imprisonment but for his or her age, must be sentenced to be detained “during the pleasure of the Secretary of State” in such conditions as the Secretary of State may direct.310

Number of children serving life imprisonment

As of 10 August 2004, there were three prisoners detained at the Secretary of State's pleasure.311 It is not clear whether those sentenced to DSSP who were no longer classified as young offenders were included in the figures. CRIN has not been able to obtain more recent figures related to the sentencing of children to DSSP as figures were not sufficiently broken down in the latest sentencing statistics of the Northern Irish Department of Justice.312

Scotland

Life imprisonment

Children can be sentenced to “detention without limit of time”, which is the Scottish equivalent of detention during Her Majesty's pleasure.

Meaning of life imprisonment

In setting a life sentence, the trial judge must set a minimum tariff period to be served before an offender can be considered for release on parole. After that period has expired, the Parole Board determines whether the person serving the sentence should be released on “life license”, that is released from detention subject to restrictions on his or her behaviour. After a person serving a life sentence becomes eligible for parole, the Parole Board will consider his or her release from detention at least every two years.

Minimum age of criminal liability

No child under the age of eight can be found guilty of any criminal offence,313 but no person under the age of 12 may be prosecuted for an offence and a person aged 12 or older may not be prosecuted for an offence committed while under the age of 12.314

The gap between the minimum age of prosecution and the minimum age of criminal liability means that criminal offences committed between the age of 8 and 12 may be included on a child's criminal record, though a prosecution may not take place. As of July 2013, the Scottish Government said it “[would] consider calls for the minimum age of criminal responsibility to increase”.315

Maximum sentences

Persons aged 12 to 18 convicted of murder must be sentenced to “detention without limit of time”, a measure that replaced “detention during Her Majesty's pleasure”.316

Number of children serving life imprisonment

Between 2001 and 2011, 113 “young offenders” were sentenced to DWLT in Scotland. Unfortunately, these figures published by the Scottish government include all persons under the age of 21, so it is not possible to identify how many people were under the age of 18 at the time they committed the relevant offence.317

Because of the length of sentences, it is difficult to estimate how long a person sentenced to DWLT would serve in detention if convicted today. However, the Scottish Government has conducted analysis of offenders serving such sentences between 1965 and 1996, which gives an indication of how they have been used across a sustained period.

Between January 1965 and December 1996, 127 males and 2 females were sentenced to DWLT for murder. Analysis of 67 people who had been released from detention while serving DWLT sentences indicated that the average time spent in detention was 10 years and five months compared to 11 years and one month for mandatory life sentences in general across the same period.318

References

1Criminal Code, Article 31. Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes.

2Criminal Code, Article 65.

3Criminal Code, Article 12.

4Criminal Code, Article 51.

5Criminal Code, Article 32.

6Criminal Code, Article 32.

7Second Periodic Report of Andorra to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/AND/2, 15 September 2011, para. 837

8Qualified Law on Juvenile Justice 1999, Article 3. Available at: http://www.oijj.org/en/docs/general/qualified-law-on-juvenile-justice.

9Qualified Law on Juvenile Justice, Article 47(3)(I)(a)(1a).

10Qualified Law on the Penal Code (9/2005 of 21 February), Article 58(2)(b). Available at: http://www.consellgeneral.ad/micg/webconsell.nsf/0/4818f8ddebfe3aeec1256d4b0027f0b5/$FILE/Llei%209%202005.pdf.

11Criminal Code, Article 60(2). Available at: http://www.parliament.am/legislation.php?sel=show&ID=1349&lang=eng.

12Criminal Code, Article 76(5).

13Criminal Code, Article 60(1).

14Criminal Code, Article 24(1).

15Criminal Code, Article. 24(2). Offences include murder, inflicting willful severe or medium damage to health, kidnap, rape, violent sexual actions, banditry, theft, robbery, extortion. The full list is included within the cited article.

16Criminal Code, Article 89(2).

17Criminal Code, art. 90(4).

18Penal Code, Section 57a(1).

20Jugendgerichtsgesetz (Youth Court Act), Sections 1(1)-(2) and 4(2).

21Juvenile Justice Act, Section 5.

22Report of the Minister of Justice of Austria to the Council of Europe, Responses of justice to urban violence, 19 to 21 September 2012, 17. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/minjust/mju31/Country-Report-Austria-Final-09-08-2012.pdf.

23Azerbaijan Criminal Code, Article 57.2. Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes.

24Azerbaijan Criminal Code, Article 57(3) and 57(4)

25Azerbaijan Criminal Code, Article. 20(1).

26Azerbaijan Criminal Code, Article 20(2). Offences include, deliberate murder, causing of heavy or less heavy harm to health, kidnap, rape, violent actions of sexual nature, theft, robbery, extortion, illegal occupation of the automobile or other vehicle without the purpose of plunder. The full list is included within the cited article.

27See Cipriani, D., Criminal Liability and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: a Global Perspective, 2009 Ashgate, p. 98

29Penal Code, Article 58(2)(1). Available at: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=336569.

30Penal Code, Article 58(4).

31Penal Code, Article 27.

32Relevant offences under the Penal Code are murder (Article 139), causing death by negligence (144), intentional infliction of serious bodily injury (Article 147), rape (Article 166), sexual assault (Article 167), kidnapping (Article 182), theft (Article 205), robbery (Article 206), robbery (Article 206), extortion (Article 208), stealing a vehicle or small boat (Article 214), deliberate destruction or damage to property ((Article 218(2) and(3)), hostage taking (Article 291), theft of firearms, ammunition or explosives (Article 294), intentional destruction of a vehicle (Article 309), theft of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their precursors (Article 327), hooliganism (Article 339), false messages about danger (Article 340), structures desecration ad damage of property (Article 341), escape from a correctional institution executing the penalty of deprivation of liberty, house arrest or custody (Article 413).

33Penal Code, Article 109.

34Penal Code, Article 115(2) and (3).

35Penal Code, Article 12. Available at: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=262695

36Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

37See Cipriani, D., Criminal Liability and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: a Global Perspective, 2009 Ashgate, p. 191

38Report by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg on his visit to Belgium, 15–19 December 2008, para. 139. Available at: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1458603&Site=CM#P477_113845 and Belgium's third and fourth periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/BEL/3-4, 4 December 2009, para. 793.

39Penal Code, Article 12. Available at http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=262695.

40Criminal Code, Article 42(1)-(2). Available at: http://www.iccnow.org/documents/criminal-code-of-bih.pdf

41Criminal Code, Article 8. Available at: www.iccnow.org/documents/criminal-code-of-bih.pdf.

42Criminal Code, Article 80(2).

43Criminal Code, Article 96(1).

44Criminal Code, Article 96(2).

45Criminal Code, Article 95.

46Criminal Code, Article 97.

47Criminal Code, Article 38(2). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/8881/preview/

48Criminal Code, Article 38A(1).

49Criminal Code, Article 38A(3).

50Criminal Code, Article 32(1) and (2).

51Criminal Code, Article 31(2).

52Criminal Code, Article 63(1).

53Criminal Code, Article 63(2).

54See Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

56Criminal Code, Article 55(3).

58Juvenile Courts Act, Article 24(1).

59Juvenile Courts Act, Article 4(3).

60Croatia Juvenile Courts Act, Article 6(1).

61See Kafkaris v. Cyprus [2008] App. No. 21906/04 for an overview of Cypriot and European Convention on Human Rights law in the area of life imprisonment. Available at: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-85019.

62Kafkaris v. Cyprus [2008] App. No. 21906/04 at para. 103.

63Ibid. at paras. 95-99.

64Ibid. at para. 103.

65Ibid. at para. 94.

66Criminal Code (Amendment) Law No. 1 8(I)/2006. As per UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations on Cyprus' combined third and fourth reports

67Cyprus Criminal Code Section 27(2).

69Criminal Code, Provision 11.

70Criminal Code, Provision 79(2).

71Criminal Code, Provision 79(3).

72Criminal Code, Section 41. Available at: https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx?id=121398

73Criminal Code, Section 15. Please note that thie age was reduced to 14 in July 2010, but subsequently raised to 15 in March 2012. For more information, see the submission of the National Council for Children as part of the Universal Periodic Review of Denmark.

74Criminal Code, Provision 33(3).

75Criminal Code, Section 45(2). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

76Criminal Code, Section 77(1).

77Criminal Code, Section 76(3).

78Criminal Code, Section 33.

79Juvenile Sanctions Act 1998, Sections 2 and 3(9). Available at: http://www.childsrights.org/html/site_fr/law_download.php?id=38.

80Penal Code, Section 45.

81Penal Code, Chapter 2c, Section 10(1).

82Penal Code, Ch. 3, Section 4(1).

83Penal Code, Ch. 6, Section 12.

84Penal Code, Ch. 6, Section 8(1) – (2).

85Criminal Code, Article 123-23. Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes/

86Criminal Code, Article 122-8.

87Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, “juvenile Justice in France” May 2008. Available at: http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/IMG/pdf/VA_-_juvenile_justice.pdf.

88Criminal Code, Article 122-8.

89L'ordonnance n ° 45-174 du 2 Février 1945 la délinquance juvénile. Available at: http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069158

90Loi No. 2007-1198 of August 2007, Article 4 amending L'ordonnance n ° 45-174 du 2 Février 1945 la délinquance juvénile

91Le Monde, “Le meurtreir d'Agnès condamné à la réclusion criminelle à perpétuité” 28 June 2013 (http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/06/28/le-meurtrier-d-agnes-condamne-a-la-reclusion-criminelle-a-perpetuite_3438832_3224.html)

92L'ordonnance n ° 45-174 France du 2 Février 1945 la délinquance juvénile, Article 20-2. (as amended by Loi No. 2007-1198 of 10 August 2007).

93Le Monde, “Le meurtreir d'Agnès condamné à la réclusion criminelle à perpétuité” 28 June 2013. Available at: http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/06/28/le-meurtrier-d-agnes-condamne-a-la-reclusion-criminelle-a-perpetuite_3438832_3224.html. Libération Société, “L'assassin d'Angès Marin de nouveau condamné à la perpétuité” 10 October 2014. Available at: http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2014/10/10/assassinat-d-agnes-marin-matthieu-condamne-a-la-reclusion-a-perpetuite-en-appel_1119253

94Criminal code, Article 51(2). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/16049/preview.

95Criminal Code, Article 73(7).

96Criminal Code, Article 80(1).

97Criminal Code, Article 88(2).

98Criminal Code, Article 88(1).

99Criminal Code, Article 60(3).

100Criminal Code (Stafgesetzbuch), Section 57a(1). Available at: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/index.html.

101Criminal Code, Section 19.

102Juvenile Courts Act (Jugendgerichtsgesetz), Sections 1 and 3.

103Juvenile Courts Act (Jugendgerichtsgesetz), Sections 18.

104Cheliotis, L.K. “Conditional Release from Prison in Greece: Policy and Practice” in Padfield, N. et al, Release from Prison: European Policy and Practice 2010 Cullompton: Willan Publishing p. 10. Available here: http://www.academia.edu/323956/Cheliotis_L._K._2010_Greece_in_N._Padfield_D._van_Zyl_Smit_and_F._Dunkel_eds_Release_from_Prison_European_Policy_and_Practice_pp._213-236._Cullompton_Willan_Publishing.

105Criminal Code, Article 126.

106Criminal Code, Article 126.

107Criminal Code, Article 127.

108Criminal Code, Article 54 .

109Hungary Criminal Code, Section 40.

110Criminal Code, Section 42. Available at: http://www.academia.edu/4602286/Criminal_Code_of_Hungary_2012.

111Criminal Code, Section 43.

112Criminal Code, Section 44.

113See above regarding Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom

114Criminal Code, Section 16.

115Criminal Code, Section 109(3).

116Criminal Code, Section 109(2).

117Criminal Code, Section 123(1)(a).

118Criminal Code, Section 123(1)(b).

119Vinter and others v. The United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10, 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, para. 68.

121Iceland Penal Code, Article 74(2)

122European Committee of Social Rights, Conclusions XIX-4 (2011) Iceland, Articles 16 and 17 of the Charter, p. 9. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Conclusions/State/IcelandXIX4_en.pdf.

123Life imprisonment is not expressly excluded as a possible sentence for children in conflict with the law. For an adult, life imprisonment is mandatory for murder and treason, and discretionary for a number of other offences. For children sentenced for crimes to which an adult would receive a life sentence, s. 103 of the Children Act 1908 was applied, which included provisions for “detention at Her Majesty's pleasure”. The Children Act 2001 repealed the 1908 Act, so it is unclear if these provisions remain in force through the Criminal Justice Act 1990.

125Ireland Children Act 2001, Section 52(1) as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2005, Section. 129. Available at: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/pdf/2006/en.act.2006.0026.pdf.

126Ireland Children Act 2001, Section 52(2) as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2005, Section 129.

128Children Act 2001, Section 96(4).

129Children Act 2001, Section 156.

130Children Act 2001, Section 96(2).

131Children Act 2001, Section 143(1).

132Children Act, Section 149(1).

133Children Act, Section 149(2) .

134Children Act, Section 155(1).

135Children Act, Section 155(3).

136Children Act, Section 155(5).

137Children Act, Section 155(7).

138Decision No. 168 of 28 April 1994) and Second periodic report of Italy to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/70/Add.13, July 2002, para. 592

139Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

140Criminal Code, Articles 97 and 98. Available at: http://www.altalex.com/index.php?idnot=36653

141Penal Code, Articles 97-98.

142Criminal Code, Section 61(3)1. Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes.

143Criminal Code, Section 11.

144Criminal Code, Section 65(2).

145Criminal Code, Section 65(2I).

146Criminal Code, Section 65(5).

147Liechtenstein Strafgesetzbuch (Criminal Code), Section 46(6)

148Liechtenstein Juvenile Court Act (Jugendgerichtgesetz) 1998, s. 2(1)-(2)

149De la Vega, Connie et al, Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing Practices in a Global Context, University of San Francisco School of Law, May 2012, p. 81

150Criminal Code (Stafgesetzbuch), Section 36. Available at: http://www.llv.li/stgb-01-01-08.doc-3.pdf.

151Criminal Code, Article 51(1). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes.

152Criminal Code, Article 13(1).

153Articles 129, 135, 149, 150, 178, 180, 181, 187(2), 254, 263, 280.

154Criminal Code, Article 90(5).

155Criminal Code, Article 81(1) and (2).

156Second periodic report of Luxembourg to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/104/Add.5, 19 July 2004, para. 257

157Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

158Loi du 10 août 1992 relative à la protection de la jeunesse, Article 2. Available at: http://www.legilux.public.lu//leg/a/archives/1992/0070/a070.pdf#.

159Luxembourg Loi du 10 août 1992 relative à la protection de la jeunesse, Article 1. Available at: http://eli.legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/loi/1992/08/10/n3.

160Loi du 10 août 1992 relative à la protection de la jeunesse, Article 32.

161See Cipriani, Don, Children's Rights and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Global Perspective, Ashgate, 2009, p. 212.

162See Law on Protection of Children, Articles 5 and 6.

163Criminal Code, Article 35(4). Available at: http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=241273

164Criminal Code, Article 36(4).

165Criminal Code, Article 71.

166Criminal Code, Article 72(1).

167Criminal Code, Article 87(1).

168Criminal Code, Article 36(5).

170See the chapter on life imprisonment and the European Court of Human Rights above.

171Criminal Code, Article 492(1).

172Criminal Code, Article 35(1).

173Criminal Code, Article 35(2).

174Criminal Code, Article 37.

175Initial report of Malta to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/Add.56, September 1998, para.294

176Centre for law and Global Justice, “Cruel and Unusual: U.S. Sentencing practices in a global context” May 2012, p. 82

177Initial report of Malta to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/Add.56, September 1998, paras. 282 to 290

178Malta Today, “Harsher penalties with new criminal law amendments” 28 November 2011. Available at: http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Harsher-penalties-with-new-criminal-law-amendments.

180Criminal Code, Article 71(3). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

181Criminal Code, Article 71(1).

182Criminal Code, Article 70(5).

183Criminal Code, Article 21(1).

184Criminal Code, Article 21(2).

185Criminal Code, Art. 84(1).

186Ibid.

187Criminal Code, Art. 85(1)

188Vinter and others v. the United Kingdom (Application Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

189Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial reports of States parties due in 1995: Monaco, CRC/C/28/Add.15, 17 Jul 2000, para. 37

190Criminal Code, art. 46 (as reported in the initial state report of Monaco to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, July 2000 (CRC/C/28/Add.15) para. 37

192Criminal Code, Articles 33, 35(1) and (2). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/4168/preview

193Criminal Code, Article 80.

194Criminal Code, Article 81(1).

195Criminal Code, Article 83.

196Criminal Code, Article 101.

197Criminal Code, Article 48(4).

198Penal Code, Article 77a.

199Penal Code, Article 31(1)(1).

200See Vinter v. the United Kingdom (Applications Nos. 66069/09, 130/10 and 3896/10) European Court of Human Rights, 9 July 2013, para. 68

201Penal Code (Wetboek van Stafrecht), Article 77a.

202Kosine Junger-Tas, “Youth Justice in the Netherlands”, Crime and Justice, 2004, p. 327

203UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of reports submitted by States Parties: the Netherlands, CRC/C/NLD/CO/3, 27 March 2009. Available at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC-C-NLD-CO3.pdf.

204Periodic Report by Aruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands) under the Convention on the Rights of the Child 2003-2006, p. 20.

205General Civil Penal Code, Section 46.

206See Criminal Code , Chapter 22. Available in English at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

207Criminal Code, Article 54(2). Available at: https://www.imolin.org/doc/amlid/Poland_Penal_Code1.pdf.

208Criminal Code, Article 78(3).

209Criminal Code, Article 80(3).

210Penal Code, Article 81.

211Penal Code, Art. 10(1).

212Offences for which children can be held liable from the age of 15 under Polish law include making an attempt on the life of the President, homicide, causing grievous bodily harm, causing an event which imperils human life or the health of many persons, using deceit or violence or a threat of violence to take control of a ship or an aircraft, causing a catastrophe on land or water or to air traffic which imperils the life or health of many persons, rape, holding a hostage with the purpose of forcing a state or local government authority to act in a specified manner, or theft with the use of violence against a person or the threat of violence causing a person to become unconscious or helpless. (Article 134, Article 148. § 1, 2 or 3, Article 156 § 1 or 3, Article 163 § 1 or 3, Article 166,Article 173 § 1 or 3, Article 197 § 3, Article 252 § 1 or 2 and in Article 280 respectively)

213Second periodic report of Poland to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C?70/Add.12; Stando-Kaweka, Barbara, The Juvenile Justice System in Poland, presented at the Conference of the European Society of Criminology, Amsterdam, 25-28 August 2004; and Cipriani, Don, Children's Rights and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Global Perspective, Ashgate, 2009, p. 212

214Penal Code, Article 10(3).

216Criminal Code, Article 19.

217 Guardianship and Education Law (Lei Tutelar Educativa) 1999, Articles. 1 and 4.

218Criminal Code, art. 41(1)-(3).

220Criminal Code, Article. 72(2).

221Criminal Code, Articles 72(3) and 73.

222Criminal Code, Article 72(1).

223Criminal Code, Article 113(1).

224Criminal Code, Article 113(2) .

225Criminal Code, Article 113(3).

226Criminal Code, Article 123(1)(a).

227Criminal Code, Article 123(1)(b).

228Criminal Code, Article 123(1)(c).

229Criminal Code, Article 66(1).

230Criminal Code, Article 123(1)(d)-(f).

232Criminal Code, Article 79(5).

233Criminal Code, Article 20(1).

234Criminal Code, Article 20(2). Offences include homicide, the intentional infliction of grave bodily injury causing an impairment of health, the intentional infliction of bodily injury of average gravity, vandalism, the unlawful occupancy of a car or any other transport vehicle without theft.

235Law on the Bases of the System of Preventing/Combating Homelessness and Juvenile Offences.

236Third periodic reports of the Russian Federation due in 2001, CRC/C/125/Add.5, 15 November 2004, para. 323

237Russian Federation Criminal Code, Article 88(6)

238Russian Federation Criminal Code, Article 88(6)

239Criminal Code, Article 10.

240Initial periodic report of San Marino to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,17 March 2003 (CRC/C/8/Add.46) para. 101.

241Serbia, the Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 2 and the Criminal Code, art. 4(3)

242The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 3.

243The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 28.

244The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 29.

245The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 3.

246The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Articles 9 and 11.

247The Law on Juvenile Criminal Offenders and Criminal Protection of Juveniles, Article 29.

248Committee on the Prevention of Torture, Report to the Government of the Slovak Republic on the visit to the Slovak Republic carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, CPT/Inf (2010) 1, 24 March to 2 April 2009, para. 66. Available at: http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/svk/2010-01-inf-eng.pdf

249Response of the Government of the Slovak Republic to the report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on its visit to the Slovak Republic, CPT/Inf (2010) 2, 24 March to 2 April 2009, Ad para. 66. Available at: http://www.cpt.coe.int/documents/svk/2010-02-inf-eng.htm.

250Criminal Code, Section 67(2). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

251Criminal Code, Section 67(3).

252Criminal Code, Section 22(1) .

253Criminal Code, Section 22(2).

254Criminal Code, Section 117(1).

255Criminal Code, Section 117(3).

256Criminal Code, Article 88(3).

257Penal Code, Article 88(5) .

259See Filipcic, Katja, “Slovenia: Dealing with Juvenile Delinquents in Slovenia,” 75 International Review of Penal Law (Revue internationale de droit pénal) 493, 2004.

260Slovenia Penal Code, Article 89(2).

261Slovenia Penal Code, Article 72(1).

263Spain Organic Law 5/2000 of 12 January, on the criminal responsibility of minors, Articles1(1) and 3. Available at: http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/Penal/lo5-2000.html.

264Spain Organic Law 5/2000 of 12 January, on the criminal responsibility of minors, Article 9(2).

265Spain Organic Law 5/2000 of 12 January, on the criminal responsibility of minors, Article 10(1).

266Spain Organic Law 5/2000 of 12 January, on the criminal responsibility of minors, Article 11(1) and (2).

267Spain Organic Law 5/2000 of 12 January, on the criminal responsibility of minors, Article 11(1) and (2).

268Criminal Code, Ch. 29 Section 7. Available at: http://www.government.se/content/1/c6/02/77/77/cb79a8a3.pdf. Note: the Criminal Code has been amended since this translation was produced. See website of the Government Offices of Sweden for updates.

269Government Offices of Sweden, “Commutation of Life Imprisonment”. Available at: http://www.government.se/sb/d/9256/a/124123.

270Criminal Code, Ch. 1, Section 6.

271Criminal Code, Ch. 30, Section 5.

272See Criminal Code (Sweden); Government Offices of Sweden, “Punishment for murder”. Available at: http://www.government.se/sb/d/13420/a/157437.

273Criminal Code, Ch. 26, Section 2(3).

274Criminal Code, Article 86(5). Available at: http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/3/311.0.en.pdf

275Loi fédérale régissant la condition pénaledes mineurs, 2003, Article 3(1). Available at: http://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/federal-gazette/2003/3990.pdf.

276Loi fédéral pénale des mineurs, du 20 juin 2003, art. 25(1).

277Criminal Code, Article 47(1). Available at: http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/6872/preview

278The Law on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures, Law No. 5275, Article 107(1)-(3). Available at: http://www.justice.gov.tr/basiclaws/law_1.pdf

279Criminal Code, Article 48(1).

280The Law on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures, Law No. 5275, Article 107(1)-(3), Article 107(1)-(3)

281The Law on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures, Law No. 5275, Article 107(5)

282Criminal Code, article 31(1).

283Criminal Code, Article 31(2).

284Criminal Code, Article 31(3).

285Criminal Code, Article 31(1).

286Criminal Code, Article 64(2). Available here: http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/16257/preview

287Criminal Code, Article 22(1).

288Criminal Code, Article 22(2). Offences include, but are not limited to, murder, attempted killing of a statesperson or public figure, intended grievous bodily harm, gangsterism, acts of terrorism, extortion, theft or seizure of railroad rollings stock and misappropriation of transportation.

289Criminal Code, Article 102(5) (Ukraine) added by amendment Law No 270-VI (270-17) of 15 April 2008

290Criminal Code, Article 103(2) (Ukraine)

291Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Section 50. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5/23-24/12.

292See Criminal Justice Act 2003, Schedule 21.

293Criminal Justice Act 2003, Schedule 21, Section 7.

294Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, Section 91. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/6/contents.

295Criminal Justice Act 2003, Ch. 5. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/contents.

296Criminal Justice Act 2003, Section 226(2) and the Sentencing Act,Section 91

297Criminal Justice Act 2003 Section 226

298Crime (Sentences) Act 1997, Section 34(2)(e) provides that for the purposes of Part II Ch. II, “life sentence” includes a sentence of detention for public protection under Section 226 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/43/contents.

299The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, “In the dark: the mental health implications of imprisonment for public protection” 18 September 2008. Available at: http://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/publications/in_the_dark.aspx?ID=584.

300Ministry of Justice Sentencing Tables, December 2011. Available at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/criminal-justice/criminal-justice-statistics.

301See R v. Secretary of State for the home Department, ex p Venables and Thompson [1998] AC 40. Available at: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/uk/cases/UKHL/1997/25.html&query=1998+and+AC+and+407&method=boolean. and Greene Brown v. the Queen [2000] 1 AC 45

302 Ministry of Justice, Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly: Sentencing tool. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statist.... Figures also provided in response to a freedom of information request made to the Ministry of Justice. Response received 17 May 2013. Note, the freedom of information request and published MoJ figures differ for 2006.

304Ministry of Justice, “Youth Justice Statistics 2011/12: England and Wales”, 31 January 2013, p. 11. Available at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/youth-justice/yjb-stats-2011-12.pdf.

306Ministry of Justice, “Sentencing tables- September 2011”. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-justice-statistics—2.

307See, inter alia, the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order, 2008, Article 13(1). Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/2008/1216/pdfs/uksi_20081216_en.pdf; the Life Sentences (Northern Ireland) Order 2001, Article 2(2). Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/2001/2564/pdfs/uksi_20012564_en.pdf.

308See the website of the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland for more information: http://www.parolecomni.org.uk/index.htm.

309Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, Article 3. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1998/1504/article/45.

310The Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, Article 45(1).

311Northern Ireland Yearbook 2005, p. 132

312Department of Justice, R and S Bulletin 4/2012, Northern Ireland Conviction and Sentencing Statistics 2007 and 2008, 28 September 2012. Available at: http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/statistics-research/stats-research-publications/prosecutions-and-convictions/northern-ireland-conviction-and-sentencing-statistics-2007-and-2008.htm.

313Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act, Section 41 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/46/contents)

314The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act, Section 41A(1)-(2).

315The Herald Scotland, “Dismay as reform fails to stop criminal records for children” 1 July 2013. Available at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/dismay-as-reform-fails-to-stop-criminal-records-for-children.21493503.

316The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, s. 205(2). Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/46/contents.

317 The Scottish Government, “Statistical bulletin – Crime and Justice series: Part 7” 2011

318The Scottish Government, “Life Sentence Prisoners in Scotland”, 1999, Chapter 4. Available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/1999/05/ee951c69-5631-4322-a3f9-d33837d34433/Q/pno/7.