3. State Party Reports


[Parts of State party report relating specifically to relevant legal minimum ages, and articles 37 and 40]



21. According to existing legislation pertaining to children's welfare (Children Law Cap. 352 and the Relationship between Parents and Children Law 216/90), "child" means a person under the age of 18.

22. The Juvenile Offenders Law Cap. 157 defines a "child" as a person under the age of 14 years and a "young person" as a person who is 14 years of age or upwards and under the age of 16 years. It should be noted, however, that the Juvenile Offenders Law is currently being revised.

23. The Children and Young Persons (Employment) Law defines a "child" as a person under the age of 16 years and a "young person" as a person who has attained the age of 16 years and is under the age of 18 years.




B. Preservation of identity (art. 8) and protection of privacy (art. 16)

47. The right of children to preserve their identity, including nationality, name and family relatives, is guaranteed by the national laws and the Constitution, particularly article 7 of the Constitution which guarantees that every person has the right to life and corporal integrity and article 15 which provides for the right of every person to respect for his private and family life.



A. Children in situations of emergency and children in conflict with the law

182. Several provisions, constitutional or legislative, ensure the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as envisaged in international instruments, of every person in the Republic accused of having infringed the penal law, including provisions specifically applicable to children and juvenile offenders.

1. The administration of juvenile justice (art. 40)

183. According to section 14 of the Criminal Code Cap. 154 of the Laws of Cyprus, a person under the age of seven years is not criminally responsible for any act or omission. A person between the ages of 7-12 is not criminally responsible for an act or omission, unless it is proved that at the time of doing the act or making the omission he had capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission.

184. A male person under the age of 12 years is presumed to be incapable of having carnal knowledge.

185. The presumption of innocence of an accused person and the doctrine of nullum crimen nulla poena sine lege are expressly pronounced in article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic. The relevant paragraphs read as follows:

  • law at the time when it was committed and no person shall have a heavier punishment imposed on him for an offence other than that expressly provided for it by law at the time when it was committed."1. No person shall be held guilty of an offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute an offence under the
  • "...
  • "4. Every person charged with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law."

186. Furthermore, article 12 of the Constitution lays down in paragraph 5 the minimum rights of every person charged with an offence, i.e.:

  1. To be informed promptly and in a language which he understands and in detail of the nature and grounds of the charge preferred against him;
  2. To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
  3. To defend himself in person or through a lawyer of his own choosing or, if he has no sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given free legal assistance when the interests of justice so require;
  4. To examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
  5. To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

187. Several provisions contained in the Juvenile Offenders Law Cap. 157 aim at dealing with child (under the age of 14) and young (between 14-16 years of age) offenders in a manner that takes into account their tender age and is consistent with the promotion of their best interests:

  1. Such cases are heard by a juvenile court sitting in a different building or room from that in which the ordinary sittings of the District Court are held, or on different days or at different times from such sittings;
  2. It is a duty of the court to explain in simple language to the child or young person brought before it the substance of the alleged offence;
  3. Privacy is fully respected at all stages of the proceedings. In a juvenile court no person other than the members and officers of the court and the parties to the case, their advocates and other persons directly concerned in the case are allowed to attend. The court may, at its discretion, require the attendance of the parents or guardian;
  4. The court may obtain information as to the child's or young person's general conduct, home surroundings, school record and medical history.

188. With the aim of placing the emphasis on prevention rather than punishment, a new procedure was adopted in 1978 for dealing with juvenile delinquents in cooperation with the police and Attorney General, so as to avoid penal measures for persons under 16 years of age. The essence of the current procedure is to treat such cases as children needing help rather than dealing with them as young offenders. With the handling of such cases usually entrusted to the Welfare Development, social work services are offered not merely to the child but to the family as a whole.

2. Children deprived of their liberty, including any form of detention, imprisonment or placement in custodial settings (art. 37 (b), (c) and (d))

189. Under the provisions of article 11 of the Constitution of Cyprus:

"With the exception of a flagrant offence punishable with imprisonment, no person may be arrested save under the authority of a reasoned judicial warrant issued according to the formalities prescribed by the law."

190. Every person arrested shall be informed of the reasons of his arrest and be allowed to have the services of a lawyer, and shall as soon as is practicable, and in any event not later that 24 hours after his arrest, be brought before a judge if not released earlier. The judge shall promptly proceed to inquire into the grounds of the arrest and shall as soon as possible, and in any event not later than three days from such appearance, either release the person arrested or, where the investigation into the commission of the offence has not been completed, remand him in custody and may remand him in custody from time to time for a period not exceeding eight days at any one time.

191. The total period of such remand shall not exceed three months from the date of the arrest.

192. The remand of a person in custody either during the investigation of a criminal offence or after the framing of charges and pending trial is invariably looked upon by the courts in Cyprus as an exceptional measure, derogating from the presumption of innocence which must be strictly justified, more so in the case of young offenders and children. The courts are vested with discretion in the matter and when adjudicating on a remand application are bound to bring about a balance between the need to uphold individual liberty on the one hand and the necessity of bringing the culprit to justice on the other.

193. Any such decision is subject to appeal.

194. When dealing with cases where children and young persons are suspected of having committed an offence the police make sure that the parents or guardians as well as the Divisional Police Commander are promptly informed. Where the suspect is a pupil, arrest and examination at school are avoided and when such a course is absolutely necessary, it is effected only with the consent and in the presence of the schoolmaster.

195. By virtue of section 7 of the Juvenile Offenders Law, a court on remanding or committing for trial a minor who is not released on bail shall, where practicable, instead of committing him to prison, commit him to custody in a police station. The police have the duty to make arrangements for preventing his association with an adult charged with an offence.

3. The sentencing of juveniles, in particular the prohibition of capital punishment and life imprisonment (art. 37 (a))

196. According to section 12 of the Juvenile Offenders Law Cap. 157 where the court before which a child or young person is tried for any offence is satisfied of his guilt, it may deal with the case in any of the following ways:

  1. By dismissing the charge;
  2. By committing the offender to the supervision of a probation officer under the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Law Cap. 162. (The task is entrusted to the Welfare Office of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.);
  3. By committing the offender to the care of a relative or other fit person;
  4. By sending the offender to a reform school;
  5. By ordering the offender to pay a fine, damages or costs to which he is liable. The court may, and where the offender is a child shall, order that the fine, damages or costs be paid by the parents or guardian;
  6. By imposing a sentence of imprisonment. By express provision in this section no child shall in any case be sentenced to imprisonment and no young person shall be sentenced to imprisonment if he can be suitably dealt with in any of the ways set out above.

197. In fact, it can safely be stated that it has been and still is a goal of national criminal policy in Cyprus to extend the use of non-custodial sanctions in substitution of custodial ones. A series of judicial decisions over the last 25 years suggests that imprisonment ought to be a measure of last resort and, in the case of young offenders, a measure to be avoided, unless considered inevitable in view of the gravity of the offence or persistent recidivism.

198. It should be noted that within the framework of the policy towards abolition of institutional/custodial treatment of juvenile offenders was also the closing down in 1987 of the only reform school in Cyprus, which had no inmates at the time.

199. Young offenders sentenced to imprisonment are held separately and do not associate with adult prisoners.

200. Capital punishment was abolished in Cyprus in 1983 (Law 86/83). Even before its abolition the death penalty could not, under the Criminal Code, be pronounced on or recorded against a person who at the time when the offence was committed was under the age of 16 years.

201. By virtue of article 53 of the Constitution of Cyprus, the President of the Republic may on the recommendation of the Attorney General remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by a court in the Republic.

202. Prison regulations provide for the remission of sentences for good conduct and industry.

4. Physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)

203. The responsibility of the State to take appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social integration of a child victim have been dealt with in previous sections of this report.

[Further information in State party report relating to the administration of juvenile justice]


1. The Department of Social Welfare Services is the official agency of the State responsible for matters concerning children's welfare and responsible for the administration of the following laws:

  • The Juvenile Offenders Law Cap. 157;
  • The Public Assistance and Services Law, (L. 8/91);
  • The Probation of Offenders Law Cap. 162;
  • The Children Law Cap. 352;
  • The Adoption Law Cap. 274;
  • The Relationship between Parents and Children Law, (L. 216/90);
  • The Children (Relationship and Legal Status) Law (L. 187/91);
  • The Sentences of Imprisonment (Conditional in Certain Imprisonment) Law (L. 95/72);
  • The Mentally Retarded Persons Law (L. 117/89);
  • The Homes for the Elderly and Disabled Persons Law (L. 222/91).

2. The enactment of the Relationship between Parents and Children Law in 1990 has been instrumental in harmonizing national law and policy with the Convention, which has been ratified by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Ratification) Law L. 243/90.




E. Children deprived of a family environment (art. 20)

68. As mentioned earlier, the Children Law Cap. 352 provides for the removal from home and protection of children who for their own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in their family environment. The Department makes provisions for alternative care for such children. The various programmes available are described below.

Foster families

69. In accordance with the Children Law, the Department is responsible for the study and selection of foster families with which it places children on payment. When placing a child, due regard is paid to the continuity in a child's ethnic and religious background. Mixed marriages recently on the rise in Cyprus, which had thus far been characterized by a more or less homogeneous population, is a new development becoming more and more a matter of concern and has caught us somewhat unprepared. There have been cases, though few and far between, where it has not been possible to place a particular child of a certain religious background with foster parents of the same religious affiliation.

70. Foster parents are regularly supervised by social workers in order to ensure that the needs of the child placed with them are duly met. A total number of 109 children are presently placed in foster homes.

71. Group foster homes were introduced in 1986 and are used mainly in cases where more than one child from the same family are taken into care. In this way, siblings are able to stay together. Group foster homes operate with governmental or other voluntary support.

Institutional care

72. Other facilities providing substitute care to a child whose parents cannot and/or will not implement their parental role are residential institutions.

73. The Department operates:

  1. Four Children's Homes, one in each district, for children aged 5-14 years. These Homes are small enough to create a family atmosphere and intimate and personal relationships can be cultivated;
  2. One Boy's Hostel for delinquent or pre-delinquent boys of 12 to 18;
  3. A Home for severely retarded children aged 5 to 16 years.

74. Apart from the above State-run services, homes for children with special needs have been established by the private sector and voluntary organizations. The Department is responsible for the registration and inspection of these programmes.

75. The number of children placed in State-run institutions is currently 113.

I. Periodic review of placement (art. 25)

86. All placements are periodically reviewed. Treatment offered and goals achieved are assessed and new objectives are set. Every child's case is discussed at least once every six months for the first two years of its reception into care and accordingly thereafter. Special committees which operate locally in each District Welfare Office have been set up for this purpose.

Source: Initial reports of States parties due in 1993: Cyprus, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.24, paras. 1-2, 21-23, 47, 68-75, 86, 182-203 (3 February 1995)