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Reaction and demand of responsibility

Yesterday, 18th of March 2008, in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, police officers arrested a group of 11 years old minors and brought them in for an informative conversation. The group of 10 children was taken without informing the parents of these children, the Director of neither the school nor any of the teachers or the psychologist in the school. This is our reaction to the media, concerning this problem:

The First Children’s Embassy in the World-Megjashi demands from Mr. Idjet Memeti, Ombudsman of Republic of Macedonia to investigate the case of harsh violation of children’s rights by the police when 11 children at the age of 11 from the Primary School “Vlado Tasevski” were brought to the Police Station Karposh-Skopje. We demand also from the Minister Gordana Jankulovska to punish the police officers that made big offence in bringing, calling and hearing the children that are not criminally responsible (their parents or guardians are responsible for them) in the absence, without agreement or knowledge of their parents, guardians or defender-lawyer. 

The Embassy Megjashi points out the violation of the following Articles of the

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

Article 3, Paragraph 1

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

States Parties shall ensure that:

 (b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

According to the Constitution and the Legislation in Macedonia:

"Informational investigation"

According to the decision made by the Constitutional Court of Republic of Macedonia and the new Law for Criminal Procedure a person can be brought in a police station by force only when there is a court decision and if it is obvious that it is avoiding to call in for the invitation in which it was stated the possibility of using force in case the person does not come nor justify the absence. The police can demand information from the citizens and to call them in the police station, but they are not obligated to go there, neither to answer the questions.

Relevant standards

Article 12 from the Constitution of Republic of Macedonia

Article 142 from the Law for Criminal Procedure

Investigating the legality

For the acts undertaken in pre-criminal procedure the citizens may request from the court to investigate their legality and the court is obligated to investigate it and to bring a decision about the situation.

Relevant standards

Article 12 from the Constitution of Republic of Macedonia

Article 3 from the Law for Criminal Procedure

In the Police Law, Law for Interior Affairs and the Codex for police ethics it stands that when a minor is brought for hearing its parents or guardians must be notified by the police in not more than 3 hours.

Following our reaction sent on 23.03.2008 to the Interior Control and Professional Standards Sector within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Sector responded on our reaction by explaining all the measures taken and by submitting a preposition for starting a dismissal procedure for five police officers.

The letter says:

On March 18th 2008, controls were undertaken regarding the event which occurred near the German Embassy, when ten children had been brought in for questioning in the Police Station Karposh. The commander of the police station and five police officers were communicated regarding this matter, and an insight was made in the police station’s book of daily events. The following has been realized: on March 18th 2008, around 12h15, a police officer employed at the Police Station for securing of diplomatic consular offices, who was at that time securing the German Embassy), called the officer on duty and reported that there are 10 to 15 children in the Embassy’s waiting room. They were brought in by a staff member of the company “ DOOEL Ladenje”, which offices were damaged by the children. After receiving the report, the police officer made a phone contact with two officers from the intervention group, who at the time being were engaged for field tasks. For the demanded intervention, the police officer introduced the officer on duty, and he approved his assistant to direct the intervention group on the spot in order to investigate the matter. After their arrival, the two officers called the official staff member who pointed the children out. They were directed to the company’s executive director, who stated that the children were seen throwing stones at the company’s windows, by his employee. The officers went back to the embassy’s waiting room, were ten children at age of 11 and 12 were making noise and were disturbing the employees. Thus, the intervention group called the Police Station Karposh and introduced the reception officer with the case, who gave them instructions to bring the children in and to contact the parents in order to realize the informative conversation. One parent had been present at the embassy, so that he drove five of the children with his vehicle, while the other five were brought in the station with the official vehicle. The children’s bringing in was registered in the book of daily events as: invited person. The insight made at the official documentation stated that the conversation had been realized with the children by an instructor for juvenile delinquency, in presence of their parents and the school’s director. Afterwards, the children were allowed to go home. Having the insight made, the Interior Control and Professional Standards Sector, made the following report:

The children were brought in the Police Station Karposh which is not allowed to be done at this way according to the Law for Criminal Procedure. This procedure predicts that the parents, legal guardians of the Social Services Center must be informed about the event for which the children are requested to go in the police station but also have to be called to accompany the child. It is not acceptable children to be taken into police station with a police vehicle especially when the place where the event happened is close to the school and the whole procedure can be finished by gathering the children in the school, informing the authorities in the school about the event, calling the parents, informing the Juvenile Judge and including an inspector for juvenile delinquency for conducting an interview with the children. In the book for daily events, this case was evidenced as inviting the children, which can not be justified with written documentation for inviting people as it is stated in the procedure for inviting people in the police station. In accordance to the documentation for this event the interview with the children was conducted by an inspector for juvenile delinquency in the presence of the parents and the principle of the school. In case the future investigation of the Sector this issue is not confirmed it will mean that the procedure for interviewing children has been broken.

From all this the Sector for interior control and professional standards considers that the five police officers in this case have acted in contrast to Article 45, paragraph 3 of the Police Law, Article 12 paragraph 3 from the Codex for the conducting police issues and Article 2 paragraph1 from the Handbook for behaving and interpersonal relations between police officers and this obligates a proposition for starting a procedure for dismissal and taking responsibility for disrupting the working discipline, since the conditions from Article 54 paragraph 1 from the Collective agreement for changing and filling up the Collective agreement of the Ministry of Interior are fulfilled.

Suggested measures:

-The Superior officer to prepare a preposition for starting a procedure of the police officers’ dismissal because of disrupting the working discipline

-The police officers to be transferred;

-To fill up the annual program for training the police officers with themes and contents concerning the police’s actions towards children, minors and handicapped person.