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2. Scope of the Rules and definitions used
2.1 The following Standard Minimum Rules shall be applied to juvenile offenders impartially,
without distinction of any kind, for example as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
2.2 For purposes of these Rules, the following definitions shall be applied by Member States in
a manner which is compatible with their respective legal systems and concepts:
( a ) A juvenile is a child or young person who, under the respective legal systems, may be
dealt with for an offence in a manner which is different from an adult;
( b ) An offence is any behaviour (act or omission) that is punishable by law under the
respective legal systems;
( c ) A juvenile offender is a child or young person who is alleged to have committed or who
has been found to have committed an offence.
2.3 Efforts shall be made to establish, in each national jurisdiction, a set of laws, rules and
provisions specifically applicable to juvenile offenders and institutions and bodies entrusted
with the functions of the administration of juvenile justice and designed:
( a ) To meet the varying needs of juvenile offencers, while protecting their basic rigths;
( b ) To meet the need of society;
To implement the following rules thoroughly and fairly.
Commentary
The Standard Minimum Rules are deliberately formulated so as to be applicable within
different legal systems and, at the same time, to set some minimum standards for the
handling of juvenile offenders under any definition of a juvenile and under any system of
dealing with juvenile offenders. The Rules are always to be applied impartially and without
distinction of any kind.
Rule 2.1 therefore stresses the importance of the Rules always being applied impartially and
without distinction of any kind. The rule follows the formulation of principle 2 of the
Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
Rule 2.2 defines "juvenile" and "offence" as the components of the notion of the "juvenile
offender", who is the main subject of these Standard Minimum Rules (see, however, also rules
3 and 4). It should be noted that age limits will depend on, and are explicitly made dependent
on, each respective legal system, thus fully respecting the economic, social, political, cultural
and legal systems of Member States. This makes for a wide variety of ages coming under the
definition of "juvenile", ranging from 7 years to 18 years or above. Such a variety seems
inevitable in view of the different national legal systems and does not diminish the impact of
these Standard Minimum Rules.
Rule 2.3 is addressed to the necessity of specific national legislation for the optimal
implementation of these Standard Minimum Rules, both legally and practically.
3. Extension of the Rules
3.1 The relevant provisions of the Rules shall be applied not only to juvenile offenders but also
to juveniles who may be proceeded against for any specific behaviour that would not be
punishable if committed by an adult.

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