CRC/C/GC/12 page 14
child to participate and to express her/himself freely.
The court and other hearings of a child in conflict with the law should be
conducted behind closed doors. Exceptions to this rule should be very limited, clearly
outlined in national legislation and guided by the best interests of the child.
The child victim and child witness
The child victim and child witness of a crime must be given an opportunity to
fully exercise her or his right to freely express her or his view in accordance with United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution 2005/20, “Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime”. 10
In particular, this means that every effort has to be made to ensure that a child
victim or/and witness is consulted on the relevant matters with regard to involvement in
the case under scrutiny, and enabled to express freely, and in her or his own manner, views and concerns regarding her or his involvement in the judicial process.
The right of the child victim and witness is also linked to the right to be
informed about issues such as availability of health, psychological and social services, the role of a child victim and/or witness, the ways in which “questioning” is conducted,
existing support mechanisms in place for the child when submitting a complaint and participating in investigations and court proceedings, the specific places and times of hearings, the availability of protective measures, the possibilities of receiving reparation, and the provisions for appeal.
The child’s right to be heard in administrative proceedings
All States parties should develop administrative procedures in legislation
which reflect the requirements of article 12 and ensure the child’s right to be heard along with other procedural rights, including the rights to disclosure of pertinent records, notice of hearing, and representation by parents or others.
Children are more likely to be involved with administrative proceedings than
court proceedings, because administrative proceedings are less formal, more flexible and relatively easy to establish through law and regulation. The proceedings have to be
child-friendly and accessible.
Specific examples of administrative proceedings relevant for children include
mechanisms to address discipline issues in schools (e.g. suspensions and expulsions), refusals to grant school certificates and performance-related issues, disciplinary measures and refusals to grant privileges in juvenile detention centres, asylum requests from unaccompanied children, and applications for driver’s licences. In these matters a
child should have the right to be heard and enjoy the other rights “consistent with the procedural rules of national law”.
The right to be heard and the links with other provisions of the Convention
Article 12, as a general principle, is linked to the other general principles of the
United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution 2005/20, in particular arts. 8, 19 and 20. Available at: www.un.org/ecosoc/docs/2005/Resolution%202005-20.pdf