We, Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman
after perusal of the Basic Statute of the State promulgated by Royal Decree 101/96,
and in pursuance of public interest,
have decreed as follows
The provisions of the attached law shall apply in regard to juvenile accountability.
All lawsuits that become within the jurisdiction of juvenile courts by virtue of the attached law shall be transferred to them, in the state they are in, unless they have been adjourned for the pronouncement of judgment.
Juveniles sentenced to imprisonment prior to the date of the entry into force of this law shall be transferred to a juvenile rehabilitation home for the remainder of the period of the sentence.
All that is contrary to the attached law, or in conflict with its provisions, is hereby repealed.
This decree shall be published in the Official Gazette, and comes into force after six months from the date of its publication.
Issued on: 1 Rabi Al-Awwal 1429
Corresponding to: 9 May 2008
Qaboos bin Said
Sultan of Oman
Published in Official Gazette 859 issued on 15 March 2008.
The Law on Juvenile Accountability
Definitions and General Provisions
In the application of the provisions of this law, the following words and phrases have the meaning assigned to each of them:
(a) Ministry: The Ministry of Social Development.
(b) Minister: The Minister of Social Development.
(c) Juvenile: Every male or female under the age of eighteen.
(d) Juvenile delinquent: Every person who has reached the age of nine, being under the age of eighteen, and has committed an act punishable by law.
(e) Juvenile at the risk of delinquency: Every person for whom any of the cases stipulated in article 3 has been met.
(f) Court: The circuit with the competence to hear juvenile cases in accordance with the provisions of this law, and named the “Juvenile Court”.
(g) Directorate of Juvenile Affairs: The directorate established in the ministry and competent with juvenile affairs.
(h) Juvenile police unit: A formation in the Royal Oman Police with the competence for the affairs of juveniles subject to the provisions of this law, and which is governed by a decision issued by the Inspector General of Police and Customs.
(i) Juvenile observation home: The home established in the juvenile police unit where juvenile delinquents are placed until they are brought before the court.
(J) Juvenile guidance home: The home established in the ministry and dedicated to the shelter and care of juveniles at the risk of delinquency who are ordered by the court to be placed in it. It shall be governed by a decision issued by the minister.
(k) Juvenile rehabilitation home: The home established in the ministry and dedicated to the shelter and care of juvenile delinquents or those ordered by the court to be placed in it. It shall be governed by a decision issued by the minister, and the juvenile police unit shall undertake maintaining security and order in it.
(l) Social worker: The employee appointed by a decision by the minister and has judicial enforcement status in the application of the provisions of this law.
The official birth certificate shall be relied upon in determining the age of the juvenile. If the birth of the child is not recorded, the age shall be estimated in the manner determined by the Ministry of Health. The age shall be calculated using the Gregorian calendar.
A juvenile is deemed at the risk of delinquency in the following cases:
(a) If he does not have a known place of residence or he usually resides or sleeps in places that are not intended for residence or sleep.
(b) If he is of bad behaviour and has rebelled against his father, wali, guardian, or custodian, or against his mother if he is under her custody.
(c) If he frequently socialises with delinquents, those at the risk of delinquency, or those known for bad conduct.
(d) If he frequently runs away from home, school, or education or training institutes.
(e) If he does not have a legitimate means of subsistence and does not have a trusted provider.
(f) If he is found in an environment that endangers his moral, psychological, physical, or upbringing safety.
(g) If he commits an act that constitutes a felony or misdemeanour, and he is under nine years of age.
The Directorate of Juvenile Affairs shall undertake reviewing the cases of juvenile delinquents or those at the risk of delinquency and submitting reports about them. It shall also undertake supervising and enforcing the requirements of the judicial probation, conditional release, final release, and aftercare procedures, in addition to other competences assigned to it as specified by the minister.
The social worker shall undertake the following:
(a) Enforcing the requirements of the measure for placement under judicial probation, and he may in this regard visit the juvenile delinquent at the place of his residence or the place of his work, and offer him advice, counsel, and assistance to solve his problems.
(b) Enforcing any other measure prescribed by the court.
(c) Enforcing the requirement of social research.
(d) Enforcing the requirements of conditional release.
(e) Submitting a periodic report once a month on the status of the juvenile delinquent. The worker may request ending the sentenced measure, amending its duration, replacing it, or adding any other measure.
The juvenile police unit shall undertake gathering evidence in juvenile cases and arresting delinquents and those at the risk of delinquency among them, while taking into account the procedures stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law.
The investigation procedures in juvenile cases and the commencing and conducting of public lawsuits before the court shall be undertaken by members of the Public Prosecution designated for this.
It is not permitted to undertake any action regarding a juvenile who rebels against his father, wali, guardian, mother, or custodian, except with the permission of one of them as the case may be.
The rules and procedures stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law shall apply before the court in regard to matters not governed by a special text in this law.
Sentences issued against juvenile delinquents shall not be recorded in the criminal record, and the provisions regarding repetition stipulated in the Omani Penal Law shall not apply to them.
It is not permitted to impose a fine punishment in regard to them.
Juveniles are exempt from paying any fees or expenses before juvenile courts of all levels.
It is prohibited, without the permission of the court, to publish the name or photograph of the juvenile, the facts or summary of the trial, or the summary or operative part of the judgment in books or written, audio, or visual media, or by any other means.
The caretaker of the juvenile shall report to the social worker the death of the juvenile, the change of his place of residence, his absence from it without permission, or other matters that occur to the juvenile, within a period not exceeding three days from the occurrence of the incident.
Measures and Punishments
The measures and punishments stipulated in this chapter shall apply, in accordance with its provisions, in regard to juveniles subject to this law.
Care measures are:
(a) Delivering the juvenile to any of those mentioned below from among those possessing the moral guarantees and the ability to take care of him:
– His parents, or one of them.
– Whoever has wilaya or guardianship over him.
– A member of his family or relatives.
– An alternative family that undertakes to take care of him.
– A juvenile guidance home or any other entity approved for the care of juveniles.
(b) Reprimanding and warning the juvenile.
(c) Preventing juveniles from visiting certain places.
(d) Preventing the juvenile from practising a certain work.
The juvenile is reprimanded and warned by directing blame and reproach at him for the actions he committed, urging him to behave well, and warning him against returning to the conduct that necessitated his reprimand.
The juvenile police unit shall, if it finds the juvenile in any of the cases of the risk of delinquency stipulated in article 3, deliver him to one of his parents or whoever has wilaya or guardianship over him. If any of them refuse to receive the juvenile, the matter shall be presented by the Public Prosecution to the court to order to have him placed in a juvenile guidance home or any other entity approved for their care.
One or more care measures shall be sentenced, provided that the duration of the measure does not exceed the juvenile at the risk of delinquency reaching eighteen years of age.
Only the measures stipulated in clauses (a) and (b) of article 15 may be applied in regard to a juvenile who has not reached nine years of age.
If the court finds that the juvenile does not have money or if there is no one who has an obligation to provide maintenance for him, the delivery of the juvenile to a juvenile guidance home or any entity approved for their care shall be sentenced.
If the person to whom the juvenile is delivered is requested to provide maintenance for him, and the juvenile has money or there is someone with an obligation to provide maintenance for him, the court shall rule this—after notifying those concerned in the hearing—and shall specify in its sentence the amount of maintenance and its due dates.
Rehabilitation measures are:
(a) Placement in a juvenile rehabilitation home.
(b) Placement under judicial probation.
(c) Enrolment in vocational training.
(d) Obligation of certain duties.
(e) Placement in a health institution.
The placement of a juvenile delinquent in a juvenile rehabilitation home shall be by a sentence for this, and if the juvenile is disabled, he shall be placed in a home appropriate for his rehabilitation. The sentence shall determine the period of placement, which shall not exceed five years for felonies and two years for misdemeanours. It is not permitted for the juvenile to stay in the home when he reaches eighteen years of age, and if the remaining period of the measure is more than a year, he shall be transferred—if he does not have a disability—to a prison if the court does not decide to keep him in the home.
The home in which the juvenile is placed shall provide to the court a report on his condition and behaviour every six months at most.
Judicial probation shall be by the placement of the juvenile delinquent in his natural environment under the supervision and guidance of a social worker. The sentence shall determine the requirements of the probation and its period, provided that it does not exceed two years. If the juvenile does not comply with the probation requirements, the matter shall be presented to the court to take other measures it sees fit from those provided in article 20.
Enrolment in vocational training shall be by entrusting the juvenile delinquent to a specialised centre or to a factory or farm owned by the state or under its supervision, and which are determined by a decision issued by the minister. The sentence shall determine the period of this measure, provided it does not exceed three years.
Obligation of certain duties shall be by tasking the juvenile delinquent to undertake at specific times some social, religious, or other duties. The sentence for this measure shall be for a period no less than six months.
Placement in a health institution shall be by placing the juvenile delinquent in a specialised hospital.
The court shall monitor his stay under treatment at periodic intervals each not exceeding a year, during which medical reports are prepared and submitted to the court to determine ending the placement if it is found that his condition permits this. If he reaches eighteen years of age, his placement shall continue if his condition requires this.
The Directorate of Juvenile Affairs shall undertake aftercare procedures in a manner that assists the integration of the juvenile delinquent into society after the lapse of the duration of the measure and overcomes the challenges that he may face in adapting to his new circumstances in a manner that protects him from returning to delinquency, and such procedures consist of:
(a) Visiting the family to accustom family and social conditions for the juvenile.
(b) Assisting the juvenile to achieve his positive interaction with those surrounding him.
(c) Helping the juvenile to create appropriate opportunities to complete his training and education and to find a source of income for him.
If the juvenile delinquent who has not reached sixteen years of age commits a crime or multiple crimes, or commits more than one crime for a single purpose and they are indivisibly linked to each other, he shall only be sentenced to a measure or more from those stipulated in articles 15 and 20, and with the exception of confiscation and closure of the premises, it is not permitted to make a sentence for a punishment or a measure stipulated in any other law.
If a juvenile who has reached sixteen years of age commits a crime punishable by the death sentence or life imprisonment, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period no less than three years and not exceeding ten years. If he commits a crime punishable by temporary imprisonment or imprisonment, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding half the maximum limit legally prescribed for the committed crime and no less than three years for felonies. The court may also impose one of the measures stipulated in article 20, without prejudice to secondary punishments prescribed in the Omani Penal Law.
The prison punishment sentenced to juvenile delinquents shall be implemented in the juvenile rehabilitation home.
Whoever is delivered a juvenile from among those mentioned in clause (a) of article 15, other than the parents, and neglects performing his duties in a manner that results in putting the juvenile at the risk of delinquency or him committing a crime shall be punished with a fine no less than ten Rial and not exceeding three hundred Rial.
Without prejudice to any punishment more severe stipulated in another law, whoever incites a juvenile to escape from a care home or assists him in this, shelters or conceals someone who has escaped from it, or prevents him from returning to it with his knowledge of this, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period no less than ten days and not exceeding a year, and a fine no less than ten Rial and not exceeding three hundred Rial, or one of those two punishments. If the act of sheltering, concealment, or prevention is committed by a parent or one of the ascendants up to the second degree, he shall be pardoned from the punishment.
Without prejudice to any punishment more severe stipulated in another law, whoever assists a juvenile or facilitates for him one of the cases stipulated in article 3, even if the case of the risk of delinquency does not actually occur, shall be punished with the punishment stipulated in the previous article.
The punishment shall be imprisonment for a period no less than six months and not exceeding three years, and a fine no less than two hundred Rial and not exceeding a thousand Rial, or one of those two punishments, if the perpetrator uses with the juvenile means of duress or threat, or if he is an ascendant of him, a custodian of him, or had him delivered to him in accordance with the provisions of this law.
If the interest of the investigation or the interest of the juvenile delinquent requires this, the Public Prosecution may place him in a juvenile observation home for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours from the date of his arrest. It is permitted to renew the period by the permission of the Public Prosecutor for a period not exceeding seven days, and if he deems it necessary to continue the placement, he shall present the matter before the end of the period to the court to consider extending it for additional periods that shall not exceed fifty-four days.
If the juvenile is referred to the court, it may extend the placement for periods not exceeding three months, or else the placement must be ended.
The court shall—on the basis of a request by the Public Prosecution—suspend all or some of the wilaya rights over the juvenile delinquent or at the risk of delinquency if there is evidence of the occurrence of any of the following cases:
(a) If the wali is sentenced for a crime stipulated in Chapter Five of Book Two of the Omani Penal Law, or if he is sentenced to imprisonment during his wilaya over the juvenile.
(b) If the wali subjects the health, safety, morals, or upbringing of the juvenile to risk as a result of his mistreatment, the notoriety of bad conduct, or otherwise.
(c) If a sentence is made to place the juvenile in one of the homes stipulated in this law.
The court shall assign one of the relatives of the juvenile, a custodian, or the home in which he is placed to undertake these rights.
In the application of this article, wali means the father, the grandfather, or others who have the wilaya right over the juvenile, as well as the mother, the guardian, or his custodian, and every person to whom the juvenile is delivered to by a judgment or a decision.
A circuit of a single judge in each of the primary courts in Muscat, Sohar, Nizwa, Salalah, Ibra, and Ibri shall be designated to consider misdemeanours and infractions committed by juveniles. It is permitted to designate other circuits in these courts by a decision by the Minister of Justice determining the scope of the jurisdiction of each of them.
It is also permitted by a decision by the Minister of Justice to designate a circuit or more in any of the other primary courts and determine the scope of their jurisdiction.
A circuit shall be designated in each court of appeal to consider felonies committed by juveniles and appeals of judgments regarding misdemeanours and infractions submitted to it.
Each of these circuits may hold its hearings in any other location within the scope of its jurisdiction or in any of the homes stipulated in this law, and that is by a decision by the Minister of Justice on the basis of the request by the president of the court.
The court has exclusive jurisdiction to consider the matters of juvenile delinquents and those at the risk of delinquency.
It also has the exclusive jurisdiction to rule on all that relates to the enforcement of judgments and orders issued in regard to the juvenile or the crimes resulting from violating them.
Civil lawsuits are not admissible before the juvenile court.
If there are multiple accused persons, and one of them is a juvenile who has not reached sixteen years of age, he shall be referred to the juvenile court, if he reaches this age, he shall be referred to the felonies or misdemeanours court, as the case may be, and in this case the provisions of this law shall apply.
Any measure required by law to be announced to the juvenile and any judgement issued in his regard shall be reported to one of his parents, wali, guardian, or custodian, as the case may be.
The parents of the juvenile and others mentioned in the previous article shall appoint a lawyer to defend the juvenile, or else the court shall assign a lawyer to undertake this task.
The trial of the juvenile shall be confidential, and it is not permitted to attend it except for his parents, wali, guardian, custodian, lawyers, witnesses, social workers, and those permitted by the court.
It is permitted to exempt the juvenile from attending and only have a representative of him attend from among those mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is not permitted in this case to rule a guilty verdict except after explaining to the juvenile the procedures that have taken place.
If the court determines that the physical, mental, or psychological condition of the juvenile requires examining him before ruling on the lawsuit, it shall decide to place him under observation in a place designated for this and shall suspend the trial proceedings until this examination is completed.
Sentences for a juvenile for care and rehabilitation measures shall be enforced.
Each of the parents of the juvenile, wali, guardian, or custodian may challenge the sentence issued against him, and this challenge shall not suspend the enforcement of the sentence.
The court may reconsider the sentence or order issued for one of the measures stipulated in this law by ending or amending it on the basis of a request by the Public Prosecution, the juvenile, or his parents, wali, guardian, or custodian, and this request must be accompanied by the observation reports issued by the entities competent with the care of juveniles.
It is not permitted when reconsidering to rule measures other than those provided in this law.
If an accused person is sentenced to a punishment on the basis that he has reached sixteen years of age, and then official papers prove that he has not reached it, the Public Prosecution shall request from the court that has issued the sentence to reconsider it.
If an accused is sentenced on the basis that he has reached eighteen years of age, and then official papers prove that he has not reached it, the Public Prosecution shall request from the court that has issued the sentence to reconsider it, to rule the annulment of the sentence, and to refer the papers to the juvenile court.
In the two preceding cases, the enforcement of the sentence shall be suspended from the date of making the request to the court, provided that the juvenile delinquent is placed in a juvenile observation home in accordance with the provisions of article 23.
If the accused is sentenced on the basis that he is a juvenile, and then official papers prove that he has reached eighteen years of age, the Public Prosecution shall request from the court to reconsider the matter.
The judges of the court and the members of the Public Prosecution shall visit the homes stipulated in this law, the vocational training centres, the health establishments, and other entities in which the measures and punishments are enforced. In all cases, the Public Prosecution shall undertake the legal procedures in regard to violations committed in any of them.
The court may, at its own initiative or at the request of the Public Prosecution, the juvenile delinquent, one of his parents, his wali, his guardian, his custodian, or social worker release conditionally the juvenile sentenced to imprisonment if he completes half the duration of the punishment and behaves well during the period that he spends in the juvenile rehabilitation home in accordance with the report submitted about him. The Public Prosecution shall submit a report to the court regarding the satisfaction of these two conditions by the juvenile.
The court shall place the released juvenile under the supervision of the social worker in accordance with the conditions it specifies. The conditional release shall be for the remaining period of the punishment.
Release shall be cancelled by a decision by the court on the basis of a request by the Public Prosecution if the juvenile violates the conditions of the release or he misbehaves. The juvenile shall be returned to the juvenile rehabilitation home to complete the remaining period of the punishment at the time of the release. If the release is not cancelled, it becomes final.