El bienestar de los niños en casos de sustracción internacional de menores. Lista completa de recomendaciones trabajo de investigación.




El Centro IKO ha presentado los resultados de un estudio de dos años junto con sus socios Child Focus (Bélgica), la Universidad de Amberes, CFPE Enfants Disparus (Francia), la Autoridad Central de Francia y Missing Children Europe. El objetivo: mejorar el bienestar de los niños que han sido retenidos o llevados a otro país por uno de sus padres. La investigación proporcionará más información para los profesionales del derecho y los responsables políticos que participan en tales casos internacionales, en los efectos psicológicos de tal evento en los niños. Se examina qué factores influyen en su bienestar. Los resultados contribuirán a una mejor evaluación del "interés superior del niño". 
Aquí puede encontrar un resumen de su resultado. El informe de investigación completo lo estamos traduciendo al castellano en breve.

Comunicación con niños

• En todas las conversaciones con niños, los profesionales deben interactuar con atención e interés genuino para que los niños se sientan respetados y tomados en serio.

• Independientemente de quién habla con el niño (el juez, un mediador, un funcionario judicial, un tutor litem, psicólogo o trabajador social), es importante que este profesional esté entrenado para escuchar a los niños y debe tener tiempo suficiente para la conversación. Tiene que participar en métodos apropiados para la edad del menor, como juegos y dibujos que podrían facilitar el proceso. El lugar debe ser cómodo para los niños. Jueces, mediadores y otros profesionales deben contar con el apoyo de psicólogos entrenados para conversar con niños.

Escuchar a los niños en procedimientos legales luego de un secuestro parental.

• La legislación no debe contener límites de edad para escuchar al niño. Todos los niños son capaces de expresar sus puntos de vista, se les debe dar la oportunidad de ser escuchados. Tal capacidad debería ser interpretada ampliamente.

• Los jueces deberían tener el alcance para evaluar el interés superior del niño en casos particulares.

• Al decidir el caso, el juez debe tener en cuenta los temores del niño (por ejemplo, la lealtad a los padres, conflictos, riesgo grave ...) y lo que sería mejor para el desarrollo saludable del niño. También las consideraciones deben ser hechas por otros profesionales que escuchan al niño e informan al juez y a los mediadores. El juez podría indicar en qué medida hará satisfacer las necesidades, deseos y/o miedos del niño al (no) retorno.

• La sentencia debe ser accesible para el niño. Si está escrito en lenguaje legal, el juez, un mediador, un funcionario judicial, un tutor ad litem, un psicólogo o un trabajador social, deberían explicarle su contenido y sus razones.

• Los jueces, mediadores y otros profesionales que escuchan a los niños deberían intercambiar información y buenas prácticas para escucharlos. Tales intercambios pueden tener lugar a nivel nacional e internacional (por ejemplo: talleres con casos reales; talleres basados ​​en filmaciones, mediación o entrevistas de psicólogos o jueces, etc.).

• Los jueces, mediadores y otros profesionales deben elegir sus palabras cuidadosamente cuando hablan con niños. El término 'secuestro' puede causar un trauma adicional, pero por otro lado, los profesionales no deben subestimar la gravedad del incidente.

• Los jueces, mediadores y otros profesionales que escuchan al niño deben prestar atención a la forma en que que el niño experimenta sus circunstancias, en lugar de hechos simples.

• Los adultos deben tener cuidado de no transmitir sus propias inseguridades a los niños condescendiéndoles o decidir en su nombre que ser escuchado (en el tribunal) sería traumático para ellos. Jueces, los mediadores y otros profesionales no deben ser excesivamente cautivantes con el fin de protegerlos.

Dar el peso apropiado a las opiniones del niño

• Los niños deben recibir apoyo adecuado para una audiencia. Los niños no tienen la responsabilidad de decidir en el caso, debe haber transparencia en el procedimiento, dándole peso a los puntos de vista del niño y así se evitar decepciones y expectativas poco realistas que pueden ser dañinas para su bienestar.

• Al evaluar su madurez, los jueces y otros profesionales deben tener en cuenta cuenta las diferencias de personalidad entre los niños. Niños tímidos, no seguros de sí mismos no tan persuasivos en su habla y comportamiento deberían tener las mismas oportunidades de expresar su puntos de vista a su manera.

• La capacidad y la madurez deben evaluarse caso por caso.

• Los jueces deben ser transparentes en su decisión sobre el peso que le dieron a las opiniones del niño, además, si los niños no fueron escuchados, razones para esta decisión.

Apoyando a las víctimas de un secuestro parental

• Los profesionales deben alentar a los padres a llegar a una solución amistosa en el mejor interés de el niño.

• El apoyo profesional debe estar disponible para los niños durante y después del regreso (por ejemplo, a través de un psicólogo, trabajador social ...). El juez podría sugerirlo en la sentencia como un requisito para el regreso del niño. Sin embargo, dados los efectos a largo plazo de la sustracción de menores, es igualmente importante que el apoyo profesional esté disponible para los niños y sus familias después del regreso.

Organizar un grupo de pares podría ayudar a los niños a manejar su experiencia dando y
recibiendo apoyo con otros niños y padres que han pasado por una situación similar.

• El arresto de un padre debe ser utilizado como último recurso solamente, ya que esto es muy traumático para los niños especialmente cuando el padre está siendo arrestado, en presencia de los niños.

Otras recomendaciones

• La jurisdicción concentrada puede fortalecer la experiencia y el conocimiento de los jueces sobre audiencias con niños.

• Los juicios deben ser públcios en todas las jurisdicciones.

• Es necesaria una mayor investigación interdisciplinaria y de gran escala sobre los efectos (a largo plazo) de un secuestro parental.




Call to end loophole one parent to remove a child from country without permission

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for an end to a 'kidnapper's charter' which enables a parent to remove children from Scotland without the other parent’s permission.


While in England this would be regarded as a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act 1984, a loophole in Scots Law means police are powerless to act unless there is a court order in place.

Solicitor Yousif Ahmed is now urging the Holyrood administration to urgently close the loophole in a bid to ensure parents and children across the UK have the same protection and rights.

The 29-year-old became involved after coming across the case of a father whose infant son had been taken to the Middle East without his knowledge or permission.

Mr Ahmed has now been in touch with Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and has already won the backing of Reunite International, a charity specialising in international parental child abduction.

In the last year alone they have been contacted by Scots parents - mainly fathers - whose children had been taken to nations including India, Pakistan, Thailand, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, Italy and South Africa without their permission.

Although the Hague Convention provides a potential method of returning to an abducted child from one member country to another, only 98 states have ratified it.

Mr Ahmed, an associate with Cannons Law Practice in Glasgow, said the current law simply was “not fit for purpose” and added: “With the world growing smaller, international relationships are becoming more common but if such a relationship breaks down it is ultimately the children who may end up paying the highest price by losing all contact with a parent and their friends.

“With the exception of Scotland, the rest of the United Kingdom rightfully criminalises the wrongful act of parental child abduction. That is a form of deterrence firmly in place.

“Surprisingly, we do not have that deterrence here – parental child abduction is not recognised as a criminal offence unless a court order has been obtained prohibiting the removal of a child and that in itself raises various problems and issues.

“To obtain such a court order, you must have some prior knowledge of a pending or imminent abduction and go through a formal legal process which in most cases is not fit-for-purpose, nor effective for preventing parental child abduction from Scotland.

“We also have a distinct lack of protocol and practice for preventing parental child abduction where an abduction is suspected as being likely – what that means is that without a court order, there are is no scope of alerting police to put in place port alerts or red flags which can alert UK Border control of a child being at risk of parental child abduction, unlike in England and Wales where a system of protocol and practice is in place to help prevent this from happening.”

Mr Ahmed has met with MSP Mary Fee, a Labour member of the Holyrood Justice Committee, and has been promised face-to-face talks with Mr Matheson or his officials before the end of the year.

The matter was previously raised with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon through her constituent Peter Hansen when his children were taken to Japan by his estranged wife without his knowledge.

Last night Alison Shalaby, from Reunite, said: “We recently received a call from a concerned parent who feared their child was being removed from Scotland without their permission.

“It was heartbreaking to tell them there was nothing we could do. Had the parent been in England we could have alerted the police and the ports to prevent from that child from leaving.

“But because of the anomaly in Scots law it is currently not possible unless there is a court order in place and for that you need to have prior knowledge this could be happening.

“What Yousif is doing in incredibly important as it will hopefully lead to better understanding of the situation and increase awareness because these cases are hugely under reported.

“In vast majority of cases it is the mother who decides to return to their country of origin after their relationship breaks down and they want to take their child or children with them.

“Unfortunately little regard is paid to the parent left behind or indeed the harm that can be done to a child removed from their social circle, school, friends and other family members.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There is already legislation in place making it an offence in Scotland for a person connected with a child under 16 to take or send the child out of the UK without the appropriate consent where a court order is in place awarding custody of the child to another person or prohibiting removal of the child from the UK.”

Japan’s Supreme Court hands down a road map for parental child abductions



In 2014, after years of diplomatic pressure and countless horror stories about parents losing all contact with children taken to or retained in Japan, the nation finally joined the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This should have relegated to history Japan’s growing reputation as a “black hole” of abduction of children by one parent — usually the Japanese one —after the breakdown of a marriage or other relationship.

Less than four years later, in a sadly predictable ruling issued on Dec. 21, Japan’s Supreme Court confirmed abductions can continue. The difference seems to be that lower courts will pay lip service to the ideals of the convention by going through the motions, and various well-intentioned institutions now exist to help achieve the amicable resolutions that should ideally end such cases. But visitation with taken children will still be difficult or impossible, return orders will remain unenforceable and, at the end of it all, courts will be able to find it best for the children to stay in Japan.

The baroque procedural regime adopted by Japan to implement the convention was designed to give lower courts various ways to avoid returning children. Now that the top court has ratified such a result, we can probably expect to see more cases like this.

Children will be the principal victims of such abductions. However, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It bore the brunt of foreign criticism before Japan joined the treaty and, acting as Central Authority under it since , has devoted significant resources to resolving cases and helping the parents and children involved in such cases. This judgment will probably now make its job that much harder.

Escape hatches do their job

The case on which the court ruled has already been widely reported in the Western press. It involved the four children of an American father and Japanese mother.

According to the Supreme Court’s judgment they were brought to Japan by the mother in July 2014 with a promise they would be returned to their home in the United States the following month. They stayed. The following year the father applied to a Japanese court for a return order under the Hague Convention.

In 2016, the Osaka High Court issued an order that the children should be returned. The court found that the older children (11 at the time they were brought to Japan) were found to not want to return, but returning just the younger ones (who were both 6) would have been bad for all of them.

The basic concept underlying the convention is that children in these situations should be returned — promptly — by courts where they have been taken to their jurisdiction of habitual residence, and decisions about their long-term best interests should be made by courts there. The convention provides a few exceptions where returns can be refused, specifically: (i) if the child “objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views” and (ii) “there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.”

Having obtained a return order, the father then set about trying to enforce it. Here he encountered the unpleasant reality that Japanese family court orders involving children are generally unenforceable. No adults get arrested or even punished for noncooperation, meaning abducting parents (and the family members who often help them) can flaunt the law and the rulings of Japanese courts. This is relatively common knowledge within Japan, where even domestic divorces can see a child unilaterally taken by one parent and the other losing all contact for years. That a case like this would arise under the Hague Convention was always predictable; it was just a matter of when it would happen.

Whilst refusing to cooperate with the return order, the mother filed a motion to have the whole matter reconsidered based on changed circumstances. This was one of the escape hatches built into Japan’s implementing act — the ability of a losing party to seek a new trial (after an appeal!), even though the whole point of the process is to get kids back home as quickly as possible.

The Osaka High Court did rule expeditiously on this motion (impressive when one considers it can take years or even decades for a wrongly convicted criminal defendant to get a retrial based on new evidence) and — lo and behold — found it was no longer appropriate to return the child because the father lacked the wherewithal to support them. (That the father had been forced to pursue ruinously expensive cross-border litigation to remedy the abduction did not seem to matter.)

This was the other bolt-hole built into Japan’s implementing act: the ability of judges to consider the child-rearing capabilities of both parents in determining whether the exception in (ii) above might apply. In other words, the court did a custody evaluation about what would be in the best interests of the children, which is one of the basic things that is not supposed to happen in Hague Convention cases. The basic premise, again, is that custody determinations should be made by courts where the children have been habitually resident.

That this escape hatch would be used in a difficult case such as this was also predictable. Otherwise Japan’s courts would have suffered the ongoing bother and embarrassment of a demonstrably unenforceable return order hanging out in limbo in a high-profile case.

Top court decides on custody

It is this ruling that the five judges on the Supreme Court’s 1st Petty Bench upheld. Judgments of Japan’s Supreme Court are often terse, particularly when dealing with subjects like excessive detention, police misbehavior, constitutional violations and so forth. Part of the rationale may be that, except in rare cases, the top court only considers appeals as to matters of law and does not revisit lower court findings of fact, and the judgment just needs to contain conclusions about the applicable law.

When it comes to family cases, however, the court sometimes breaks from this staid mold and its judges presume to explain what is best for children they have never even met. In their December ruling the court declared in no uncertain terms that “the appellant (father) lacks the financial basis to appropriately care for the children, and cannot be expected to receive ongoing support in their care and support from his family.” It would thus be bad for the children to be returned to America.

That in the course of ruminating on the best interests of the children the judges did not find it worth mentioning that they had been denied all contact with their father during the entire process is simply indicative of how little importance the Supreme Court attaches to the parent-child relationship, at least when it is inconvenient to the result that best suits the court system.

At risk of sounding repetitive, who is best suited to care for the children is precisely the type of decision that the Hague Convention expects to be made in the home country. Moreover, Article 20 of the treaty clearly states that “a decision under this Convention concerning the return of the child shall not be taken to be a determination on the merits of any custody issue.” Perhaps the court just found this language inconvenient when for all intents and purposes it conclusively determined the merits of the custody issues in this particular case — where the children would grow up and who would raise them.

There you have it. Courts in other countries should now be on notice that, despite Japan joining the Convention and a diligent Central Authority providing assistance to parents of taken children, return orders issued by the nation’s courts remain unenforceable, contact can be safely denied, Japanese judges looking for ways to let children stay in Japan can simply find fault with the left-behind parent’s imagined parenting capabilities and higher courts will ratify that decision as being “in the best interests of the children.”

By demonstrating such a low threshold for refusing returns and condoning noncooperation with enforcement proceedings, the Supreme Court’s ruling seems likely to serve as a road map for further abductions to come.


La Cooperación jurídica internacional y el efecto devolutivo del recurso de apelación en los procesos de restitución internacional de menores

Autores: Tagle, Graciela - Mastrángelo, Fabio  Publicado en: La Ley Online;  Cita Online: AP/DOC/524/2018 Sumario: I. Introdu...