Kenya raises age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years old

The Government of Kenya has signed this Friday a decree law amending the rule on children’s rights, thus raising the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years.

The amendments, which Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law on Thursday, also require legal representation for children who are in legal trouble or facing trial, online newspaper ‘Pulse Live’ has reported.

Also, under the new law, children accused of minor offenses will not be prosecuted in court, but will have to go through “community-based support networks”.

“A person under twelve years of age shall not be criminally responsible for any act or omission and a child who commits an offense while under fourteen years of age shall be presumed to be incapable of differentiating between right and wrong unless the court is satisfied with proof to the contrary,” states the new Children’s Act.

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Previously, the Kenyan Penal Code set the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 8 years. A child between the ages of 8 and 12 could be held responsible for an offense if proven to be aware of it, according to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).

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