In Scotland the age of responsibility is eight years, In England and Wales and Northern Ireland the age of responsibility is ten years and in the Netherlands and Canada, the age of responsibility is twelve years.
As the treaty parties of the Rome Statute of the International CriminalCourt could not agree on a minimum age for criminalresponsibility, they chose to solve the question procedurally and excluded the jurisdiction of the Court for persons under 18 years.
Alternatively, the lack of real fault in the offender can be recognized by rulings that dispense mitigated criminalsentences or address more practical matters of parental responsibility by adjusting the rights of parents to unsupervised custody, or by separate criminal proceedings against the parents for breach of their duties as parents.
International standards, such as the Beijing Rules for juvenile justice, recommend that the age of criminalresponsibility be based on emotional, mental and intellectual maturity and that it not be fixed too low.
In all Scandinavian countries, the age of criminalresponsibility is 15, and adolescents under 18 are subject to a system of justice that is geared mostly towards social services, with incarceration as the last resort.
The wide variation in age of criminalresponsibility reflects a lack of international consensus, and the number of countries with low ages indicates that many juvenile justice systems do not adequately consider the child's best interests.
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