Debates Over Lowering the Criminal Responsibility Age

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Currently Argentina’s government officials have been debating lowering the age of criminal responsibility following the recent incident involving a 15 year-old killing a man, who has not been taken to trial.

The recent event which took place in Tolsa, a province of Buenos Aires, provoked the current debate between the national government and the provincial government ministers on policies for dealing with younger criminals who commit sever crimes.

Ricardo Casal, Justice and Security Minister of the Buenos Aires province made statements to illustrate his stance in the discussions. Casal stated that he believes the legal measures taken against young criminals, “need stronger legal limits”, and that the current policies have a “ gap in the law” on criminal proceedings and how to deal with the offenders.

Currently the age for legal prosecution of a criminal minor is 16 years-old in Argentina, but the law does not permit younger criminals to be punished or to be taken to trial. Casal continues to further his stance on the cause to the national government despite his former appeals being rejected by the provincial governor, Daniel Scioli.

Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, also made statements in agreement with Casal. In regards to underage criminal laws he went on to say, “there is a huge lack of lawmaking by the State.”

Macri continued to debate lowering the criminal age because to him, the reality of the consequences set by the current law actually impedes on young offenders. “Unfortunately, society is failed by them (the young criminals) not being punished accordingly when they need to be.”

While Casal and Macri share similar views on the lowering of the criminal age, Interior Minister, Florencio Randazzo opposes them, rejecting the idea to lowering the criminal responsibility age. He states that “the justice system has the tools it needs to put any dangerous criminals behind bars.”

Randazzo continued to oppose Macri’s statements. “Just because the request cannot be applied, does not mean that criminals will walk the streets as if nothing has happened.” He furthers his angle of the debate, saying “the most important thing is that the courts have what they need to deal with people who endanger society.”

Though the ongoing debate over the legal age of accepting criminal responsibility has yet to reside on a stance, the national and provincial government leaders continue to discuss what should be done regarding the current law.

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As a possible ‪Grexit‬ looms in the old continent, we revisit Marc Rogers' article comparing Greece's current situation to Argentina's own 2001-2 crisis.

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