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Angola[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

The Angolan legal system does not provide specifically for the right of the child to be heard in protective proceedings.  Law N. 9/1996 on the Justice for Minors establishes a special court section to handle matters involving minors, including protective proceedings where a child has been the victim of abuse or neglect. The law provides for the intervention of the state in such situations, through a judicial body formed by a specialized judge and two experts, who may be government employees or civil society representatives, and are charged with ensuring the protection, assistance, and education of the child.  The prosecutors acting in this separate court, known as Prosecutors for Minors, represent the child in protective proceedings and are responsible for defending the rights and advocating on behalf of the child.  Parents, guardians, anyone with a minor in their care, and a minor over the age of sixteen can select a lawyer to represent their interests in the proceedings.

 

Angola ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in December 1990 (submitting its first report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child only in August 2004) and ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACC) in April 1992.

 

Article 21 of the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Angola provides that "constitutional and legal norms related to fundamental rights shall be interpreted and incorporated in keeping with The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, the African Charter on the Rights of Man and Peoples and other international instruments to which Angola has adhered."[2]  Furthermore, Article 21 establishes that "in the assessment of disputes by Angolan courts, those international instruments shall apply even where not invoked by the parties."[3]  As a result, Angola's constitution and laws should be interpreted taking into account Angola's commitments under the CRC and ACC, including the right of the child to have an opportunity to be heard in proceedings affecting the child's rights and interests.

 

In practice, the framework laid out in the 1996 Law on Justice for Minors and the commitments undertaken by Angola in the CRC and ACC have not yet been implemented. The National Institute of Children (INAC), established by Decree nº8-I/91 in 1991, is responsible for designing and implementing policies related to children.  The National Department for the Child and Adolescent (DNCA) was established by Executive Decree nº60/02 in 2002 and there has been lack of clarity and overlap between the responsibilities assumed by both institutions.[4]  While the 1996 Law on Justice for Minors provided for the creation of Courts for Minors, the first Court for Minors only began operating in 2003.[5] 

 

The almost forty years of war Angola endured, which came to an end in 2002, account in part for the lack of implementation of laws protecting children in Angola.  Major challenges include addressing one of the world's worst child mortality rates, the reunification of children separated from their families during war, and the reintegration of child soldiers.  Child abuse and neglect both within the home and in schools remains largely invisible with the viewpoint of parents generally taking precedence over that of the child.  In the few criminal cases that are brought, the intimidating nature of proceedings and pressure often exerted on the child leads to a high rate of case withdrawals.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Portuguese Text

 

Convenção sobre os Direitos da Criança[6]

 

Artigo 12

1. Os Estados Partes garantem à criança com capacidade de discernimento o direito de exprimir livremente a sua opinião sobre as questores que lhe respeitem, sendo devidamente tomadas em consideração as opiniões da criança, de acordo com a sua idade e maturidade.

 

2. Para este fim, eu assegurada à criança a oportunidade de ser ouvida nos processos judiciais e administrativos que lhe respeitem, seja directamente, seja através de representante ou de organismo adequado, segundo as modalidades previstas pelas regras de processo da legislação nacional.

 

Carta Africana dos Direitos e do Bem-Estar da Criança[7]

 

Artigo 4. Melhor Interesse da Criança

...

2. Em todos processos judiciais e administrativos afectando a criança que tem capacidade de comunicar sua opinião, uma oportunidade será providenciada para ouvir as opiniões da criança, seja directamente ou através de um representante imparcial tomando parte dos procedimentos, e estas opiniões serão tomadas em conta pela autoridade relevante de acordo com o conteúdo da lei apropriada.

 

Artigo 7. Liberdade de Expressão 

Toda criança capaz de comunicar sua opinião terá o direito de exprimir livremente a sua opinião sobre todas questões e de difundir suas opiniões segundo as restrições previstas pela lei. 

 

Constitution

 

Lei Constitucional da República da Angola[8]

 

Artigo 30°

1. As crianças constituem absoluta prioridade, pelo que gozam de especial protecção da família, do Estado e da sociedade com vista ao seu desenvolvimento integral.

2. O Estado deve promover o desenvolvimento harmonioso da personalidade das crianças e dos jovens e a criação de condições para a sua integração e participação na vida activa da sociedade.

 

Statutes

 

Lei N.º9/96: Sobre o Julgado de Menores, Diário da República, 19 de Abril de 1996[9]

 

Artigo 4° (Constituição)

1. O Julgado de Menores é o órgão colegial, composto por um Juiz especializado coadjuvado por dois peritos assessores que podem ser funcionários da Administração do Estado ou representantes da sociedade civil.

2. A decisão é proferida pelo Juiz depois de ouvido o parecer dos Peritos Assessores.

 

Artigo 5° (Peritos assessores)

1. Os Peritos Assessores são nomeados pelo Ministro da Justiça, pelo período de 3 anos e serão escolhidos preferencialmente entre funcionários dos serviços de assistência social, educação, saúde ou pessoa da sociedade civil de reconhecida idoneidade.

2. Os Peritos Assessores são nomeados entre quem preencha os seguintes requisitos:

a) ter reconhecida idoneidade moral e cívica;

b) ter idade superior a 24 anos;

c) residir na área onde o Julgado de Menores vai exercer suas funções;

d) possuir como habilitações literárias mínimas a 12.a  classe ou equivalente;

e) ter comprovada experiência em matéria que se relacione com o menor.

3. Os Peritos Assessores estão sujeitos às mesmas incompatibilidades, impedimentos e sujeições a que estão sujeito os juízes.

 

Artigo 6° (Atribuições do juiz)

Incumbe ao juiz do Julgado de Menores preparar e decidir em primeira instancias os processos sujeitos à sua jurisdição, bem como os respectivos incidentes e exercer as demais atribuições consignadas na lei.

 

Artigo 7° (Procurador de menores)

1. Os Magistrados do Ministério Publico que exerçam funções nos Julgado de Menores são designados Procuradores de Menores.

2. Compete ao Procurador de Menores representar judicialmente o menor assim como defender os seus direitos e zelar pelos sés interesses, podendo exigir aos pais, tutores ou pessoas encarregadas da sua guarda os esclarecimentos necessários.

 

Artigo 8° (Serviços sociais)

1. O Julgado de Menores integra na sua estrutura serviços sociais para o exercício da sua jurisdição.

2. Nas províncias em que não for possível a constituição dos serviços sociais, pode o Julgado de Menores requisitar a outros órgãos da Administração do Estado funcionários habilitados para o exercício das respectivas atribuições.

3. Cabe no geral aos serviços sócias proceder a averiguação dos fatos necessários à decisão e o acompanhamento e cumprimento das decisões proferidas.

 

Artigo 9° (Legitimidade )

Têm legitimidade para o procedimento judicial:

a) o Procurador de menores;

b) as autoridades policiais tradicionais;

c) os pais, tutores ou quem tenha o menor a seu cargo;

d) quem no exercício das suas funções tenha conhecimento do fato sujeito à competência do Julgado de Menores;

e) os representantes de pessoas jurídicas cujo objecto seja a protecção do menor, que no exercício da sua actividade tenham conhecimento do fato da competência do Julgado de Menores.

 

Artigo 14° (Aplicabilidade das medidas de protecção social)

As medidas de protecção social são decretadas, quando esteja em perigo o bem estar físico ou moral do menor, designadamente, quando ocorra qualquer das seguintes situações:

a) sejam vitimas de maus tratos físicos, morais ou de negligencia por parte de quem os tenha à sua guarda;

b) se encontrem em situação de abandono ou desamparo;

c) se mostrem gravemente inadaptados à disciplina da família e da comunidade;

d) sejam utilizados como mão de obra e estejam sujeitos a esforços físicos susceptíveis de causar lesões graves;

e) se dediquem à mendicidade, vadiagem, prostituição e libertinagem, ou façam uso de bebidas alcoólicas ou de estupefacientes.

 

Artigo 15° (Enumeração das medidas de protecção social)

As medidas de protecção social são, entre outras, as seguintes:

a) permanência em casa dos pais ou tutores ou outros responsáveis mediante acompanhamento do Julgado de Menores;

b) imposição de regras de conduta;

c) colocação em família substituta;

d) matricula e freqüência obrigatória em estabelecimento de ensino;

e) inscrição em centro de formação profissional;

f) requisição de assistência medica, de testes psicotécnicos ou outros;

g) semi internamento em estabelecimento de assistência ou educativo;

h) internamento em estabelecimento de assistência ou educativo.

 

Artigo 24° (Constituição de advogado)

1. Os pais, tutores, qualquer pessoa que tenha menores a seu cargo e o menor com idade superior a 16 anos de idade podem constituir advogado para intervir no processo.

2. Os interessados que não disponham de recursos económicos, podem requerer ao Julgado de Menores que lhe seja atribuído o beneficio da assistência judiciária.

 

English Text

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child[10]

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

 

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Regional Agreements

 

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child[11]

 

Article 4. Best Interests of the Child

.

2. In all judicial or administrative proceedings affecting a child who is capable of communicating his/her own views, and opportunity shall be provided for the views of the child to be heard either directly or through an impartial representative as a party to the proceedings, and those views shall be taken into consideration by the relevant authority in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law.

 

Article 7. Freedom of Expression

Every child who is capable of communicating his or her own views shall be assured the rights to express his opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his opinions subject to such restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

 

Constitution

 

Constitutional Law of the Republic of Angola[12]

 

Article 30

1. Children shall be given absolute priority and shall therefore enjoy special protection from the family, the State and society with a view to their all-round development.

2. The State shall promote the harmonious development of the personality of children and young people and create conditions for their integration and active participation in the life of society.

 

Statutes

 

Law N. 9/1996: Justice for Minors, Diário da República, 19 de Abril de 1996[13]

 

Article 4 (Composition)

1. The Court for Minors is an organ composed of a specialized Judge, acting in conjunction with two expert assistants that may be state employees or civil society representatives.

2. The Judge issues the decision after hearing the opinion of the Expert Assistants.

 

Article 5 (Expert Assistants)

1. The Expert Assistants are nominated by the ministry of Justice for a period of three years and will be selected preferably amongst the employees in the areas of social assistance, education, health or a person from civil society of recognized capacity.

2. The Expert Assistants are nominated amongst those who fulfill the following requirements:

a) recognized moral and civic capacity;

b) over 24 years old;

c) reside in the area where the Court for Minors will exercise its functions;

d) possess minimum literacy of the 12th grade or equivalent;

e) proven experience in issues relating to minors

3. The Expert Assistants are subject to the same incompatibilities, impediments, and conditions as the judges.

 

Article 6 (Responsibilities of the Judge)

It is the responsibility of the judge of the Court for Minors to prepare and decide in first instance the cases subject to his/her jurisdiction, as well as the respective supplementary activities and any other responsibilities provided for by law.

 

Article 7 (Prosecutor for Minors)

1. The magistrates of the Public Prosecutor's Office that exercise functions in the Court for Minors are designated as Prosecutors for Minors.

2. It is the responsibility of the Prosecutor for Minors to provide legal representation for the minor as well as to defend the minor's rights and advocate for his/her interests.  The Prosecutor for Minors can demand the necessary explanations from parents, guardians or people responsible for minors.

 

Article 8 (Social Services)

1. The Court for Minors integrates social services in its structure in order to carry out the functions under its jurisdiction.

2. In those provinces where it is not possible to set up the social services, the Court for Minors can request that other government agencies fulfill the respective functions.

3. It is the responsibility of the social services to verify the necessary facts for decision-making and to accompany the compliance with the decisions issued.

 

Article 9 (Legitimacy)

The following have legitimacy for judicial proceedings:

a) the Prosecutor for Minors;

b) the traditional police authorities;

c) parents, tutors, or anyone else responsible for a minor;

d) whoever in the exercise of their functions has acquired knowledge of a fact subject to the competence of the Court for Minors;

e) the representatives for judicial persons whose purpose is the protection of a minor, who through the exercise of their activities have acquired knowledge of a fact within the competence of the Court for Minors.

 

Article 14 (Application of social protection measures)

The measures for social protection are decreed whenever the physical or moral well-being of the minor is imperiled, more specifically, whenever any of the following situations occur:

a) they are victims of physical or moral abuse or of negligence committed by those who responsible for them;

b) they are in a situation of abandonment or lack of shelter;

c) there are gravely unadjusted to the family and community discipline;

d) the are being utilized as manual labor and are subject to physical exertion likely to cause serious injury;

e) they are dedicating themselves to begging, vagrancy, prostitution, and lascivious behavior, or utilizing alcoholic beverages or drugs.

 

Article 15 (List of social protection measures)

The social protection measures are, amongst others, the following:

a) permanence in the home of parents or guardians or others who are responsible with accompaniment from the Court for Minors;

b) imposition of rules of conduct

c) placement with substitute family;

d) registering and compulsory attendance of educational establishment;

e) registering in center for professional training;

f) request for medical assistance, psychiatric tests and others;

g) part-time boarding in an assistance or educational establishment;

h) boarding in an assistance or educational establishment

 

Article 24 (Selection of Lawyer)

1. The parents, guardians, any person responsible for a minor and the minor older than 16 years can select a lawyer to intervene in the proceeding.

2. The interested parties that do not have sufficient financial resources, may request that the Court for Minors provide the benefit of judicial assistance.

 

Local Contact Information

 

José Antônio Martins Patrocínio

Project Coordinator

OMUNGA

Luanda, Angola

Tel:       (244) 2722 21535

Email: zepatrocinio1@yahoo.com.br

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

UNICEF Angola

http://www.unicef.org/angola/

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Const. Rep. Ang. art. 21(2) (1992), available at http://www.angola.org/referenc/constitution/constit.htm.

[3] Id. art. 21(3)

[4] Rede Criança & COIEPA, Supplementary Report by NGOs on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 8 (2004).

[5] Id. at 9.

[6] Portuguese translation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, available at http://www.unicef.org/brazil/dir_cri.htm.

[7] Unofficial translation provided by Portuguese translator at the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization.

[8] Lei Const. Rep. Pop. Ang. art. 30 (1992).

[9] Lei. N.° 9/1996, D.R. de 19 de abril de 1996.

[10] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[11] African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990), entered into force Nov. 29, 1999, available at http://www.africa-union.org/.

[12] Const. Rep. Ang., supra note 1.

[13] Unofficial translation provided by Portuguese translator at the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization.

 

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