Jean Zermatten
Nationality Switzerland
Committee Committee on the Rights of the Child
Date First Elected 02/23/2005
Date Term Expires 02/28/2009
Position on Committee Committee member
Professional Background Main professional activities:
- 1973-1980, Clerk, then judge “ad hoc” at the juvenile court, Fribourg (Switzerland)
- 1989-2002, Lecturer at the University of Fribourg (Arts Faculty, Social Work and Law Faculty)
2002, Initiated and launched the Executive Master on Children’s Rights, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg and the Institut Universitaire Kurt Bösch

Other relevant activities:
- 2000-2003, Charged by the Swiss Confederation to draft a project for the first unified law for the criminal procedure for minors (OFJ)
- 2000, Initiated the interactive website
- 2002, Charged by the cantons of French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino to draft an inter-cantonal concordat on the implementation of measures for young offenders (adopted in October 2003)
- May 2002, Attended the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the rights of the child
- November 2003, Collaborated in the creation of the first Swiss children’s rights network bringing together more than 50 Swiss NGOs
- August 2003, Commissioned by the canton of Valais to draft law implementing the new Federal Law on the criminal statute for young offenders
- January 2004, Commissioned by the canton of Geneva to evaluate the cohabitation educators/guards at La Clairière, a detention and observation centre for young offenders

Board membership:
1982-1994 Member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Magistrates for Youth and Family (IAMYF)
1984-1990 President of the Swiss society for criminal law for juveniles
1986-1994 Member of the board of experts for the revision of the Swiss Criminal Code
1994-1998 President of the International Association of Magistrates for Youth and Family (IAMYF)
1994-present Founder and director of the IDE
1998-present Founder and vice-president of the Fondation Sarah Oberson
1983-1997 President of the management board of the Rives-du-Rhône homes (institutions for young drug addicts)
1988-1999 Member, then vice-president of the Valais Committee against drug addiction
1983-present Member of the board of the St. Raphaël institution (for adolescents in difficulty)
2001 - present Founder member and member of the council of the “Mafli Children” foundation, an organization helping children to realize their personal project (
2003-present Member of the board of directors of the Robert Schumann Institute for Europe

Programmes, courses, conferences:
0rganization in Sion of one-week training courses on juvenile justice upon UNICEF request:
- June 1999, For senior officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran in collaboration with UNICEF Iran
- December 2002, For senior officials of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in collaboration with UNICEF Macedonia
- March 2003, For Turkish magistrates in collaboration with UNICEF Turkey
- October 2003, For senior officials of the Republic of Moldova in collaboration with UNICEF Moldova
- August 2004, For senior officials of Mauritania in collaboration with UNICEF Mauritania

Regional conferences and programmes:
- September 1999 Tunis: Director and speaker at a general course on the rights of the child for 200 childhood professionals from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Jordan
- 2002-present, Balaton Lake, Hungary, and Borovets, Bulgaria: Co-director of a three-year training course for social workers in Eastern Europe (10 countries) in partnership with the International Social Service
- 2002-present, La Somone and M’Bour, Senegal: Co-Director of a three-year training course for childhood professionals in Western African countries (11 countries) in partnership with the International Social Service
- April 2002, Tripoli: Participation at the Conférence Méditerranée-Europe, Dialogue Afrique-Europe-Méditerranée, Institut Robert Schumann pour l’Europe (audience: politicians of the North African countries and the Middle East)
- June 2002, Istanbul: Speaker at the Forum on Juvenile Justice, organized by the World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD) (audience: magistrates, senior officials, lawyers and professors)
- March 2003, Burkina Faso: Co-director of a three-year training course for childhood professionals from French-speaking African countries, in partnership with the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie
- October 2003, Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland: Conférence de réconciliation de Côte d’Ivoire, chair and introductory lecture “L’Enfant, instrument de paix” (audience: Côte d’Ivoire warring factions)
- October 2003, Geneva and Sion: Co-director of the training course on juvenile justice for decision makers from Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, organized with CASIN

National programmes and conferences:
- August 2000, Sion, Switzerland: Director and speaker at a one-week training for MECA (Middle East Children Association, NGO gathering of Palestinian and Israeli teachers)
- May 2000, Bogotá: Organized a seminar “Protección de los derechos del niño”, in collaboration with the Law Faculty of Sergio Arboleda University
- May 2000, Mendoza, Argentina: Speaker at a seminar on juvenile justice at the University of Aconcagua, on “Taking care of young offenders: an international perspective”
- May 2001, Córdoba, Argentina: Congreso sobre la Convivencia escolar y violencia, lecture “La violencia y la escuela” (audience: teachers, social workers, parents and students)
- May 2001, Buenos Aires: Organized a seminar “Derecho de los niños y mediación”, in collaboration with the Law Faculty of the Catholic University (audience: working mediators, mediators in training, family law professionals)
- May 2001, Bogotá: Organized a seminar “Protección de los niños victimas del conflicto armado”, in collaboration with the Law Faculty of the Sergio Arboleda University, the Foundation “Cultura para la Paz” and the “Alto Comisionado para la paz” (audience: people involved in the issue of childhood, displacements and justice)
- November 2001, Yangon: General director and speaker at a three-year training course, present with the collaboration of the Centre for the Humanitarian Dialogue for 120 childhood professionals from various State ministries, NGOs, monasteries, universities and schools
- May 2002, University of Sherbrooke, Canada, Foundation Charles Coderre, presentation “La prise en charge des mineurs délinquants; quelques éclairages à partir des grands textes internationaux et d’exemples européens” (audience: professionals of juvenile justice (magistrates, lawyers, policemen, psychologists, social workers))
- June 2002, Rome: Speaker at the Congress of the Italian Association of Magistrates for Youth and Family: “Is Juvenile Justice endangered?” (audience: professionals in the fields of juvenile justice (magistrates, lawyers, policemen, psychologists, social workers))
- May 2003, Buenos Aires: Speaker at the seminar “Violence in the Family; Juvenile delinquency”, Catholic University (audience: teachers, social workers, parents and students)
- April 2004, Istanbul, Turkey: Co-animator and speaker for lawyers, magistrates, policemen and students at Behaçesihir University: “The new Swiss criminal statute for young offenders” and “Institutions for young delinquents in Switzerland”, and University of Maltepe, Istanbul “The Swiss system of juvenile justice”

Recent conferences in Switzerland:
- 30 May, Geneva “Dedans ou Dehors, l’intégration des mineurs délinquants”, Club international de Pédiatrie sociale (audience: doctors and workers in public health)
- 12 September, Fribourg “Les jeunes mineurs migrants délinquants. La fin des illusions éducatives?” Congrès européen de criminologie juvénile (audience: criminologists, senior officials, professors and students)
- 26 September, Sion “La place de la médiation dans la nouvelle Loi fédérale régissant la condition pénale des mineurs”, Symposium européen de médiation pénale, IUKB (audience: European mediators fully trained or still in training)
- 27 September, Fribourg “The best interest of the Child as defined by the CRC, EMCR” Université de Fribourg
13 November, Pramont “La nouvelle loi fédérale régissant la condition pénale des mineurs”, Société valaisanne du patronage (audience: penal establishment professionals)
- 19 November, Sion “Jeunes délinquants. Quel soutien par les nouvelles dispositions pénales?” Meeting of prison chaplains of French-speaking Switzerland
- 15 January, Les Rasses “Les jeunes en 2004. Faut-il en avoir peur?” Gastroforum 2004 (audience: people working in catering)
- 9 February, Sion “Enfants violents, enfants dérangeants; nos enfants”, Rotary Club
- 12 February, Fribourg “Enfance, adolescence, violence, Fatalité?” University of Fribourg, Faculté des lettres, et Société fribourgeoise de Philosophie
- 11 March, Geneva “Quelles dispositions d’application à prévoir par les cantons à la suite de l’adoption de la nouvelle loi fédérale régissant la condition pénale des mineurs?” (audience: juvenile court judges)
- 13 March, Lausanne “La médiation et la Justice des Mineurs”, Fondation Education et Développement, Université des droits de l’Homme
- 24 March, Geneva “La Violence dans la Société. Les réponses du terrain”, Institut national genevois, public meeting
- 23 April, Salvan “Les jeunes toxicomanes; quelle évolution? Quelle prise en charge?”
- 29 April, Sion Café-rencontre. Le cannabis? faut-il en avoir peur? Femmes rencontres-Travail, public meeting
- 23 June, Geneva, Geneva University, Faculty of Medicine, Formation en santé publique et droit humanitaire, “La Convention des droits de l’enfant. Un nouvel instrument international”

Most recent publications in the field:
- 12 petits contes pour ne pas s’endormir, Saint-Maurice, Editions Saint-Augustin, to be published in September 2004
- Droits de l’enfant et SIDA: du tabou aux stratégies d’intervention./The rights of the child and HIV/AIDS: from taboos to intervention strategies, IDE, 2004 (ed.)
- Les Droits de l’Enfant. Et les filles? IDE, 2003
- L’Enfant et la Guerre, IDE, 2002 (ed.)
- Tribunal des Mineurs Le petit tailleur et autres histoires de galère, Saint-Maurice, Editions Saint-Augustin, 2002
- Etrangers, Migrants, Réfugiés, Requérants, Clandestins … et les Droits de l’Enfant? IDE, 2001 (ed.)
- 100 Ans de Justice Juvénile: Bilan et Perspectives, IDE, 2000 (ed.)
- Un Champion à Tout Prix. Les Droits de l’Enfant dans le Sport, IDE, 1999 (ed.)
- Enfants et Travail. Une Coexistence Acceptable? L’Approche des droits de l’Enfant, IDE, 1998 (ed.)
- Une Convention, Plusieurs Regards. Les Droits de l’Enfant entre Théorie et Pratique, IDE, 1997 (ed.)
- L’Archer Blanc, de la Dépendance à l’Initiation, Chapelle sur Moudon (Switzerland), Ketty and Alexandre Editions, 1994 (co-author P.Y. Albrecht)
- Nouvelles Tendances dans le Droit Pénal des Mineurs, Rapport Criminologique de l’Institut Max Planck, Freiburg, 1989 (co-author F. Dünkel)

Important articles:
- “Des droits de l’enfant et de quelques défis”, Journal de l’Organisation mondiale de l’enseignement préscolaire, August 2004
- “A la Santé des Enfants! Evolution des droits de l’enfant et du droit à la santé”, La Santé, Cycle de vie, Société et Environnement, Réalités sociales, Lausanne 2004
- “L’intérêt de l’enfant, de l’analyse littérale à la portée philosophique” IDE Working report 2-2003
- “La prise en charge des mineurs délinquants: quelques éclairages à partir des grands textes internationaux et d’exemples européens” Revue de droit de l’Université de Sherbrooke, vol. 34, 2003-04
- “La Justice des mineurs est-elle en danger?” Domaine Public, 27 September 2002
- “Les principaux instruments internationaux en droits de l’enfant”,
- “100 años de Justicia juvenil”, Minoridad y Familia, 1997, Santa Fe, Argentina
- “De quelques caractéristiques de l’intervention judiciaire face aux mineurs délinquants”, Revue valaisanne de jurisprudence, 1996
- “Face à l’évolution des droits de l’enfant, quel système judiciaire: système de protection ou système de justice?” Revue internationale de criminologie et de police technique, No. 2, 1994
- “Les objectifs du droit pénal des mineurs”, Revue valaisanne de jurisprudence, 1995
- “Réflexion sur les réalités de la justice des mineurs et la séparation des fonctions judiciaires”, Revue pénale suisse, vol. 107, 1990
- “Révision des dispositions applicables aux mineurs”, Jeunesse et Délinquance, 1988
Educational Background1968 Baccalaureate B (Latin-English), College of Sion (Switzerland)
1972 Law Degree, University of Fribourg (Switzerland)
Current occupation - 1980-present, President and dean of the juvenile court of the canton of Valais (Switzerland)1994-present
- Founder and Director of the International Institute for the Rights of the Child (IDE)
- 1998-present, Co-founder and member of the Fondation Sarah Oberson
LanguageFrench, German (Deutsch), English, Italian, Spanish
Working LanguageFrench, English, Spanish