The new criminal code’s provision concerning the age of criminal responsibility fully complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and so the recent protest by UNICEF Hungary was completely groundless, the Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday.
The convention does not specify any age limit for criminal responsibility, delegating this right to the particular member states, the ministry said in a statement.
UNICEF Hungary on Tuesday criticised the new criminal code’s provision on lowering the age of criminal responsibility.
The country’s new criminal code that parliament approved on Monday lowers the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12 years in the categories of premeditated homicide, voluntary manslaughter and bodily harm leading to death or resulting in life-threatening injuries.
Under the new code, the most severe sentence for 12-14 year old offenders is to serve one to four years in a correction facility.
The ministry said that several European countries had set a lower age limit for criminal responsibility.
It added that the new criminal code would provide stronger protection for children. Profiteering from child prostitution has become a separate crime; perpetrators of crimes against children will be banned from professions related to supervision, care and education of children; and endangering the psychical development of children has become a crime, too.