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European Network for Restorative Justice.

On April 8, 2003, the European Parliament endorsed a proposed European Network of National Contact Points for Restorative Justice. Originally proposed by the Kingdom of Belgium in July 2002, the network is intended to improve the flow of information about restorative justice throughout Europe.
The proposal lists several international documents as a basis for forming this network.  Of particular importance, however, is the Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA if 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings. Article 10 of the decision asked member states to promote the use of mediation as a response to crime. Article 17 set March 2006 as the deadline for Member States to have created legislation implementing article 10. 

The proposal recognizes the extensive, though not comprehensive, restorative justice work done throughout Europe. The Network of national contact points is envisioned as enabling States that have made the most progress to share their knowledge and experience with those that lag behind. It is envisioned that this cooperation will enable all member states to be ready for the 2006 deadline. 

Developed in consultation with the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, the Network will involve up to three contact points for each Member State, including at least one representative from the national authorities responsible for restorative justice. Researchers and practitioners will also participate. 

The Network is to: 

  • Collect, analyse, and evaluate information on existing restorative justice practices and their developments

  • Distribute information

  • Facilitate mutual exchange of information to those interested in restorative justice

  • Promote research on the topic of restorative justice

  • Identify and develop areas for training and evaluation

  • Organise conferences, seminars and other activities to promote restorative justice. 

In its decision to endorse the proposal, the European Parliament provided that the Network of National Contact Points should have a separate secretariat within the European Crime Prevention Network and be funded from the crime fighting  programme.  

The proposal is now before the Council of Ministers for final approval. 

 

Resources Used: 

Europe Information Service. 2003. Justice and Home Affairs: Parliament Approves Victim-Offender Mediation Network. April 9. Page 474.

Initiative of the Kingdom of Belgium with a view to the adoption of a Council Decision setting up a European network of national contact points for restorative justice 

Other resources:

 

Lynette Parker

June 2003

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