Criminal Justice System in Syria and United States

This fact stands in opposition to US policy in the 1970s, when Lebanese Christians controlled the drug trade and the U. S. government remained a silent ally (MacLeod, 2001 p. 433). This situation also led Reagan’s national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, to convince Saudi Arabian officials in March of 1984 to supply the contras with $1 million a month (Lawson, 1996 p. 317). Further, when Syrian intelligence was implicated in an aborted attempt to place a bomb on an El Al airliner at Heathrow Airport in 1986.

The U. S. government added further controls to detailed trade restrictions on exports to Syria (Ghazzal, 2007). Consequently, Syria’s relationship with the United States had become both contradictory and perplexing. Inasmuch as the United States wanted to punish Syria for its involvement in terrorism, it needed Syria’s help in dealing with terrorism and was trying to maintain, if no Improve, its relations with Damascus at a time when Washington had to limit its cooperation in consideration of a Congress that was adamant in its negative attitude toward Syria (DeLong and Lukeman, 2004 p.

67). One of the major differences in the justice system between United States’ policy and Syrian justice system is the age of criminal responsibility, which consequently covers higher demographical scope for criminal accusations compared to United States (Ghazzal, 2007). The age of criminal responsibility in Syria has similar requirements to many other countries; for instance, children responsible for offenses are still afforded less of a liability than if they were adults; however, the age criteria is far lower compared to other countries, such as United States.

In 1997, a summary of one of the Conventions on the Rights of the Child meetings was released in the “Defense for Children International” newsletter (Dana, 2003 p. 289). Based on the presentation by the Geneva delegation, the United Nations commented: Another issue of concern was the low age of criminal responsibility, which stands at seven (Press Release: GA/SHC/3359, 1996). Although children from the age seven to fifteen may not be sentenced, their cases are considered by the special courts (MacLeod, 2001 p.435).

It is up to the judge to decide how to deal with them. Syria has relatively low age requirements for other rights in which a juvenile becomes an adult (DeLong and Lukeman, 2004 p. 65). For instance, the age of consent to marry for males is fifteen; for females, it is thirteen (Ghazzal, 2007). Syria has a sense of uniformity in its understanding of maturity and the age in which youths can make cognizant decisions, in issues ranging from marriage to the choice to commit crimes (Lawson, 1996 p.318).

While international human rights organizations would prefer if the ages of legality for all activities were raised, at least the nation is not singling out youth offenders to accept adult responsibility over the rest of their peers. Syria created a complex juvenile justice system with the objective of protecting and rehabilitating children in 1974 with Article 31 of the Juvenile Delinquents Act No. I8 (Dana, 2003 p. 288). Summary

Evidently, the study concludes that the historical perspective had shaped the current issues of criminal justice system in Syria with respect to the transitions that occurred in the legal systems. In the aspect of policy powers of Syria in relation to crime occurrences, military expansion kept professional officers happy with promotions and equipment and their domestic role became incorporated in society to the degree that in many villages, the military was a preferred prestige career and local officers viewed as brokers with the state bureaucracy.

The corrupt police officials had contributed to the increasing criminal manifestations due to the inadequacy and tolerating atmosphere present in the regime. In the aspect of transnational crime, Syria’s cooperation with the United States stood well with the Bush administration but had little effect on Congress, whose majority remained adamant about keeping sanctions on Syria so long as it harbored and abetted terrorist organizations on its soil. There were also limits on the extent to which the administration could cooperate with Syria.

In addition to being on the State Department’s terrorism list, Syria had been denied certification for U. S. international aid because of its inadequate effort to stop drug production and drug trafficking. In the aspect of comparing Syrian criminal justice system with the United States, the study was able to conclude that the age of criminal responsibility is extremely young. Many children under the age of ten are incapable of reading simple sentences, yet Syria claims that these children can be held and punished for their crimes.

In addition, while other nations with low ages of criminal responsibility at least allow offenders to remain within the juvenile system until the age of eighteen, Syria’s penal codes deem anyone aged fifteen and over as completely liable for their actions.

References

Campbell, J. C. (1999). Human Rights In Syria. Middle East Watch. Middle East Watch, 1990. Foreign Affairs: Yale University Press Dana, N. (2003). The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status: Sussex Academic Press DeLong, M. and Lukeman, N. (2004). Inside Centcom: The Unvarnished Truth about the Wars: Regnery Publishing