On 20 March 2017 the European Committee of Social Rights registered a collective complaint prepared by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) based in Brussels in cooperation with Forum for Human Rights, against the Czech Republic.

The complaint  argues that the Czech Republic fails to ensure equal legal protection and participation of children below the age of criminal responsibility in the pre-trial stage of juvenile justice procedures.

The ICJ and FORUM submit that serious systemic flaws in the Czech juvenile justice system deprive a specific group of particularly vulnerable individuals – children below the age of criminal responsibility – of an adequate level of social protection and leave them at risk of inappropriate or unfair procedures leading to arbitrary punitive measures, in violation of Article 17 of the European Social Charter, both alone and read in conjunction with the principle of equality in the preamble to the Charter.

This situation concerns more than one thousand children every year and as a matter of urgency, it requires a structured response.