Fam­ily and child bench in­au­gu­rated

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

With the in­au­gu­ra­tion of fam­ily and child bench at Thim­phu District Court on June 28, ac­cess to child­friendly jus­tice will be fa­cil­i­tated in child-re­lated cases. The fam­ily and child bench has been func­tional and es­tab­lished since De­cem­ber last year.

The fam­ily and child bench has been es­tab­lished in line with the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of Chil­dren and the Child care and Pro­tec­tion Act of Bhutan. Child care and Pro­tec­tion Act of Bhutan re­quires the court to pro­vide the right care and pro­tec­tion to safe­guard the rights of a child, ei­ther a vic­tim or a child who is in con­flict with law.

The fam­ily and child court­room has a very con­ducive am­bi­ence.

The fam­ily and child bench Drang­pon, Pasang Wangmo, said the bench is a first of its kind in the ju­di­cial his­tory of Bhutan.

Drang­pon Pasang Wangmo said that with the es­tab­lish­ment of the fam­ily and child bench which is equipped with mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties, like CCTV cam­era, the ju­di­ciary aims speedy dis­posal of cases re­lated to chil­dren and pro­vide a child-friendly en­vi­ron­ment.

She also said that wit­ness or vic­tim will be al­lowed di­rect in­ter­ac­tion with the judge, while the ac­cused will be able to view and hear pro­ceed­ings via two way video con­fer­enc­ing in the court room.

A two-way video com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem al­lows the child wit­ness to iden­tify the ac­cused on cam­era. This also en­ables the judge to ask ques­tions to the child and ac­cused with­out any phys­i­cal in­ter­face. The child will not be al­lowed to come face to face with the al­leged of­fend­ers to make sure the child is not in­ti­mated while court pro­ceed­ings are on.

The Regis­trar Gen­eral of Supreme Court, Tsh­er­ing Dorji, said that a huge oneway glass sep­a­rates court room from other rooms. This room will be used to in­ter­act with the child and child wit­ness. The room has book shelves so that chil­dren can read.

This year, as of now 31 chil­dren-re­lated cases are reg­is­tered with the Thim­phu district court and 230 mat­ri­mo­nial cases are reg­is­tered. A sim­i­lar bench will be es­tab­lished in Paro, Phuentshol­ing and Wang­duepho­drang later.

Her Royal High­ness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck in­au­gu­rated the fam­ily and child bench, which is funded by Save the Chil­dren, Italy.

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