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Eastern Europe

As many eastern European countries work to reform their justice systems, restorative processes are becoming key elements, especially in addressing youth crime.

Balahur, Doina. Multidimensional Restorative Justice for Everyone: Romanian developments.
In this intervention, I have taken into account the fact that comparative analysis, regarding the implementation of restorative justice programs and practices, must be accomplished within the framework of the current general trend that exist in the European States, but, wider, of the developments in other cultural areas. (excerpt)
Wright, Martin. 2005. Can restorative justice reduce the burden on the criminal justice system?Paper presented to conference on ‘Forming a Ukrainian restorative justice model’, organized by Ukrainian Center for Common Ground, Kyiv, 10-11 February 2005.
This paper will consider what are the difficulties faced by the CJS, and why are the difficulties not being resolved? It will then suggest what can be done about them. Firstly, there are conventional responses, and then a different response based on restorative principles will be proposed. Finally the possible effects of such an approach will be explored, including the important role of those who administer the justice system and will be responsible for making sure that the restorative process lives up to the restorative ideal. (excerpt)
Community Justice Centers in Armenia
In 2006, two Community Justice Centers opened in Armenia to provide restorative justice services to first-time young offenders. They were developed by an NGO, Project Harmony, and Armenian law enforcement professionals and educators. In this article, Renee Berrian, programme manager with Project Harmony, provides an overview of the development of the Community Justice Centers in Armenia.
Laisha, Tatiana. Dzerzhinsk: In the Direction of Cooperation
Tatiana Laisha is a psychologist, facilitator/mediator, and coordinator of restorative justice programs with the Nizhegorodsky regional affiliate of the Public Centre for Legal and Judicial Reform. As she writes, there are two main directions for the work of this regional affiliate. One is to introduce reconciliation programs in the town of Dzerzhinsk and in the Nizhegorodsky region. The other is to establish and develop an association of civic organizations and other groups for restorative justice in the Privolzhsky Federal District. Laisah sketches efforts of the Nizhegorodsky affiliate to accomplish both of these initiatives.
Bolkovaya, Svetlana. Urai: Idea Infection
Svetlana Bolkovaya is the restorative justice program coordinator in Urai in Russia. With the rate of juvenile delinquency in Uria increasing in recent years, it became clear to criminal justice officials and others that the accepted measures of dealing with juvenile offenders and their parents were not successful. New approaches were needed to respond to juveniles with destructive and deviant behavior, as well as with troubled families. Therefore, in 2000 she and others took part in a restorative justice seminar in Tyumen, the seminar being led by the Public Centre for Legal and Judicial Reform. Bolkovaya explains how this led to the development of restorative justice initiatives in Urai, and she describes some of the cases being handled through restorative principles and processes.
Fliamer, Michael and Maksudov, Rustem. Moscow: Emergence and Development of the Practice of Restorative Justice in Russia
Michael Fliamer and Rustem Maksudov, with several others, have played key roles in efforts by the Public Centre for Legal and Judicial Reform to change the Russian criminal justice system. Here Fliamer and Maksudov trace the work of the Centre in introducing and developing restorative justice principles and practices in Russia. They describe initial contacts in 1997 with restorative justice experts from outside of Russia and the beginning of victim-offender reconciliation and mediation in Moscow. Fliamer and Maksudov point to major restorative justice influences on their program, the types of cases handled, the primary emphases of the Centre’s work, and the legal effects of victim-offender reconciliation and mediation.
Chankova, Dobrinka. Bulgarian Mediation Act - A delayed start of a new Velvet Revolution in the justice system.
The year 2004 ended happily for the mediation society in Bulgaria: on December 2nd, the Bulgarian Parliament finally adopted the long expected Mediation Act. The Act was promulgated in State Gazette N 110 on 17 December 2004 and enforced on 20 December 2004. Considering that the pre-enforcement history of the law was wrought with hurdles, this was definitely a huge success. (excerpt)
Kunová, Jana. Probation and mediation in the Slovak Republic.
This article presents a short overview of the development of the probation and mediation service in Slovakia. (excerpt)
Koval, Roman. Restorative Justice Implementation in Ukraine.
The first restorative justice project has been initiated by an NGO (Ukrainian Centre for Common Ground (UCCG)) and it is functioning on a pilot basis in Ukraine since January 2003. The Restorative justice project is designed for 3 years. It sets for itself the following tasks: establish good relations with justice system institutions; develop a system to establish rules and procedures through which cases are outsourced for mediation; train victim-offender mediators; implement the system as a pilot in Kiev; extend the project to regions outside Kiev; develop an evaluation mechanism to assess the effectiveness of the current restorative justice model; increase public awareness of the theory and practice of restorative justice through media, web-site development and training workshops for legal system representatives; use opportunities for institutionalisation at national and sub-national levels. The first year of the project was focused only on restorative justice implementation in Kiev, but now there is an intention to spread restorative justice practices into five regions in Ukraine. (excerpt)
Kregel, Stefania. Introducing restorative justice for juveniles in Bosnia and Herzegovina: a pilot project on the implementation of alternative measures and mediation.
A restorative approach in dealing with juveniles coming into conflict with the law seemed to be introduced in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with the adoption of the law on educational recommendations. This law, included in the Criminal Code of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1998 and in Republika Srpska in 2002, gives judges and prosecutors the possibility of diverting juveniles from formal criminal prosecution in cases of criminal offences punishable by a fine or a prison sentence of up to 3 years. In such cases, if the juvenile admits to having committed the offence and is willing to make amends to the damaged party, the judge or prosecutor, in collaboration with the juvenile’s parents and institutions of social care, can order one of eight educational recommendations, including personal apology to the injured party, compensation of the damage to the injured party, community service and regular school attendance. (excerpt)
Tkac, Marek and Gjados, Radek and Stern, Pavel. Czech justice and restorative practice.
For the Czech Republic, as for many other countries, the fall of the "iron curtain" in 1989 and the end of the cold war marked a fundamental break: a new beginning and an opportunity to create new ways of doing things. It brought far-reaching reforms in the criminal justice system, initially in Czechoslovakia, and then, following partition, in the Czech Republic. We can say that the modern history of community sanctions and measures, as well as that of the probation and mediation activities, only began in the early 1990s. The first alternative concept was introduced into the Czech criminal law in 1994 as a diversion (conditional cessation of prosecution). This step was revolutionary in this period since it introduced elements of Anglo-Saxon law into the Czech continental legal system. It also created the ideal starting point for initial mediation activity during criminal proceedings. (excerpt)
Keenan, Eamonn and Maksudov, Rustem. Achievements, issues and problems of introducing RJ into Russia.
The Moscow based Centre for Legal and Judicial Reform is the leading organisation in development of Restorative Justice across Russia. Since August 2002 they have been working with the Centre for Social Action and the Community and Criminal Justice Research Centre at DeMontfort University England. Funded by the British Government Department for International Development the organisations have been working to institutionalise Restorative Justice in Russia through a joint project, which ends in February 2005. The workshop will focus on practical examples of the situations that faced the management and staff of the joint project. The presenters will seek to share the lessons learned with reference to: the current position of young offenders in Russia; the approaches developed in partnership working; the activities of the programmes pilot projects; working with the key agencies, courts, offenders and victims; impacts to date; prospects for change and possibilities for the future. (excerpt)
Hanganu, Sorin. Ideologies in sentencing in Central and Eastern European countries.
There are a number of common features of the criminal justice systems in the countries situated in the Central and Eastern part of Europe, also known as "former socialist countries", or "former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics". They have been recently called also "Newly Independent States". The influence of the Soviet Union on these countries had imprinted some specific elements regarding the criminal policy, the system of sanctions, as well as the public opinion on crime and punishment. One can easily see in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, in the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), to a certain degree also in Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, etc. a highly punitive criminal sanction system, using detention as main tool of punishment and long term imprisonments resulting in high number of detained people. Accordingly, there are overcrowded prisons, increased recidivism, difficulties of reintegrating offenders into the communities and there is low community participation in the processes of offenders’ reconciliation. The table on the right presents the situation of the detention in some of the European countries. Compared to the medium level of detention in the 15 countries, i.e. in the member states of the European Union before its extension on 1st of May 2004, which constituted 97 detainees per 100.000 inhabitants on 1st of January 2004, this number is six times higher in case of Russia (584 detainees), four times higher in Ukraine (416 detainees) and twice as high in Romania (190 detainees). What are the causes of this situation? What has happened? What to do in order to achieve some beneficial changes? To answer these questions, a short overview of the criminal sanctions before the 90’s should be given. (excerpt)
Platek, Monika. The Legal Side of Mediation, for Adults (RJ conferences in Poland - the rise of the new legal practice).
I have collected the arguments put forward by judges and prosecutors against mediation. I hope that I can counteract them with other arguments ensuing from the work of the court itself perceived from the outside. For several years now I have been reading lectures and holding seminars on "The Policy of Criminal Punishments in the Countries of the European Union." One of the assignments I give my students under this topic is to find out how Article 6 of the European Convention, which is also in effect in our country, is implemented in Polish judicial practice. The results of this work are extremely interesting and show very positive changes in the Polish courts. At the same time, they ruthlessly show the discrepancy of the arguments put forward by practicing members of the law against mediation. (excerpt)
Community Safety and Mediation Centre. Final Narrative Report. Project title: RO-Mediere, Sub grant agreement no. 186-A-00-00-00113 (28-RO), ROMANIAN-American Sustainable Partnership (RASP) Umbrella Grant Program, World Learning / USAID
The overall purpose of the activities under this Sub-grant Agreement is development of the Romanian mediation capacity through introduction of new services, increased public awareness, and introduction of more modern legislation relative to mediation of disputes. The Sub-recipient will work closely with its U.S. partner, the Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA), as implementers. Activities under this Sub-grant Agreement have two general purposes: (a) Establish a network of three conflict resolution centres in the north-eastern Moldavian region of Romania with teams of mediators working under professional conditions to resolve family and community conflicts, and (b) Strengthen conflict mediation services in Romania through building local NGO capacity, create public awareness on the need for mediation services, and complete the documentary work on the new mediation law. (excerpt)
Biermans, Nadia. Restorative justice and the prison system
For about two years now, Nadia Biermans, along with others, has been trying to apply restorative justice ideas and practices in Flemish prisons. Based on her experiences, in this paper she raises some questions and makes certain observations about restorative justice in the prison system. She begins by explaining how restorative justice in Belgian prisons began and how it is organized. This leads to discussion of the question of whether restorative justice has a place in prison, the issue of educating and persuading the wider public about restorative justice, and successful ingredients for introducing restorative justice in prisons.
Wright, Martin. Restorative Justice Grows in Ukraine
The aim of the Ukrainian Centre for Common Ground and its sister organizations is nothing less than "to transform the way the world deals with conflict, away from adversarial approaches towards co-operative approaches." A major part of its activity is the introduction of restorative justice into the Ukrainian justice system. It has developed strategic partnerships with the Supreme Court, the general Prosecution academy within the Prosecutor's office and other key agencies, and in November 2004 it planned a conference to be addressed by senior judges and by Roman Koval the director of UCCG. (excerpt)
Stern, Pavel. Probation and Mediation Under One Roof (summary)
In 1998 the Criminal code was upgraded and amended. It introduced more alternative penalties that involved probation and probation supervision. At the same time, the initial experimental projects of alternative provisions were evaluated. These demonstrated excellent outcomes. As a result, the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved a governmental proposal and passed the Probation and Mediation Service Act on January 1st 2001. This was a very satisfactory conclusion to the first stage of the process. As for the Probation and Mediation Service, the process of its establishment was both important and very positive. There was a joint effort made by the universities and non-governmental organizations on the one hand, and the support of the government and the State Department of Justice on the other. Therefore, we can see this process as self-sustaining, as Vaclav Havel described it; as something established upon the initiatives and needs coming from everyday practice. It gained the necessary support of the governmental institutions at the right time and opportunity. We can see this as a good example of cooperation between the government and non-governmental sectors, bringing them together and creating important, shared and consensual change in the application of law and social services in the criminal justice sphere. (excerpt)
Anonymous. Rules Pertaining to the Unified Register of Mediators.
These rules shall set forth the terms and procedure for inclusion in the Unified Register of Mediators (hereinafter “the Register”), which shall be established and maintained by the MOJ of Bulgaria. (excerpt)
Maksudov, Rustem. The Old Civilization in the New Russia
In this article, Rustem Maksudov writes about the possibility of a transition from a system of "correction" to restorative justice in Russia. Following an analysis of the situation in Russia with respect to crime and criminal justice, Maksudov details the emergence and development of restorative justice ideas and practices in Russia. Particular attention is given to the work of the Centre for Legal and Judicial Reform and its efforts to develop and implement a victim-offender reconciliation program. Discussion of case examples illustrates the work of the Centre. Maksudov highlights collaborations between the Centre and other relevant organizations in Russia.

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