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ARGENTINA | 04-04-2024 21:17

Argentina's justice minister working on bill to lower age of criminal responsibility

Mariano Cúneo Libarona posts on social media showing he had begun work on a bill that aims to lower the age of imputability so that minors can be sentenced from the age of 14.

Argentina’s justice minister says he has begun work on a bill to send to Congress to lower the age of criminal responsibility in Argentina.

Mariano Cúneo Libarona posted on social media over the long weekend, showing he had begun work on a bill that aims to lower the age of imputability so that minors can be sentenced from the age of 14.

With the backing of President Javier Milei and Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, the Justice minister published a photo on social networks on Saturday where he can be seen starting work on the implementation of the draft law on minors.

“Working on the new law on minors with @PatoBullrich and our advisors, which we will soon send to Congress. Our goal is to have a society in which justice triumphs,” Cúneo Libarona said in the post.

Cúneo Libarona, a veteran lawyer, said in an interview earlier this year that a bill to lower the age of criminal responsibility is one of his legislative goals for 2024.

“The age of 14, for example, which is the age I like … is supported by almost 30 bills I have on my desk which have been presented and have not been accepted by Congress,” the minister told Radio Rivadavia.

Any legislative change “should not only include punishment, but also a subsequent stage, which is education,” he added.

According to a 1983 law which raised the age of criminal responsibility from 14 years old in Argentina, those under the age of 16 are tried under a different penal regime. Only minors convicted of a crime punishable with over two years of jail time are sentenced, and only adults over the age of 18 can go to prison. Minors must be held in a juvenile institution until they are adults.

In other nations in the Americas, such as the United States and Brazil, people under the age of 18 face different criminal proceedings to adults, with different legal consequences.

Meanwhile, Bullrich had anticipated that the national government would send to Congress a law to lower the age at which minors can be charged under the justice system after committing a crime.

The announcement was made yesterday by the Security minister herself, in the same message in which she said that the Santa Fe provincial police arrested the 15-year-old minor who murdered service state attendant Bruno Bussanich in the city of Rosario and that he was placed at the disposal of the juvenile justice system.

“The murderer of the service station attendant Bruno Bussanich, from Rosario, has just been arrested by the Santa Fe provincial police. A murder which destroys an entire family,” said the official on social networks.

In the same vein, he added: "It is our obligation that, in cases like these, justice is done. The law of Imputability is already entering the National Congress, so that crimes like these will never again go unpunished."

The head of state also expressed himself on the same channel when he said that "whoever does something, pays for it" and his spokesman Manuel Adorni, indicated: "The murderer who shot the service station attendant in Rosario has been arrested: he is 15 years old. An adult crime, an adult sentence."

Several bills seeking to raise the age of criminal responsibility have been introduced to Argentina’s Congress in recent years, but none have won approval. 

 

– TIMES/NA

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