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European Union

Through its different bodies, the European Union has developed recommendations and other documents related to the use of restorative practices.

Commission of the European Communities. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Mutual recognition of Final Decisions in criminal matters.
This communication from the Commission of the European Communities addresses issues of cooperation between State parties in criminal matters. The communication mainly deals with the concept of mutual recognition of final decisions in criminal matters. Section 9.4 addresses alternative sanctions.
Commission of the European Communities. Crime Victims in the European Union: Reflexions on Standards and Action.
The number of persons traveling, living or studying in a country other than their own is increasing steadily. Every second European (53% or close to 200 million Union citizens) traveled on holiday in 1997. The student mobility in Europe comes close to 200,000 students per academic year. Although only a minority of all who travel within Europe will become victims of crime in any given year, those who do will have to avail themselves of the support of schemes available in the country where the offence took place. In compliance with the principle of subsidiarity, this Communication focuses only on the special problems of people falling victim of crime in a Member State other than their own, but the approach is equally relevant for domestic victims. Although the Commission will occasionally refer to victims as “European citizens” this will, where applicable, also include third country nationals who are legally residing in the European Union. (excerpt)
Commission of the European Communities. Green Paper: Compensation to crime victims
In 2001 the Commission of the European Communities produced this Green Paper. The general purpose was to initiate a consultation with all interested parties on state compensation to crime victims within the member countries of the European Union (EU). The main issues to be addressed by the consultation concerned the following: European norms for compensation; existing means of state compensation in the EU; the scope and need for action at the Community level; ways to strengthen compensation through a Community initiative; and access for victims to compensation in cross-border situations. A number of questions were put forth in the paper to elicit responses from interested parties. Each question is accompanied by detailed discussion of issues relevant to the question.
Commission of the European Communities. Proposal for a Council Directive on compensation to crime victims.
3.1. Overall objective The objective of this proposal is to ensure that all EU citizens and all legal residents in the EU can receive adequate compensation for the losses they have suffered in case they fall victim to a crime within the EU. The proposal will contribute to reaching the objective of the Union and of the Community to establish an area of freedom, security and justice for all, as well as the objective of ensuring free movement of persons within the EU. The proposal also forms part of the response of the EU to the events of 11 September 2001, by ensuring that victims of terrorism are ensured of adequate compensation regardless of where within the EU such acts may take place. The objective of the proposal is directly in line with what was outlined in the Green Paper and as supported by the reactions to it and with the conclusions of the Tampere European Council 1999. (excerpt)
Committee of Ministers. Recommendation Rec(2006)8 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on assistance to crime victims.
Section 13.1. Taking into account the potential benefit of mediation for victims, statutory agencies should, when dealing with victims, consider, where appropriate and available, the possibilities offered for mediation between the victim and the offender, in conformity wiht Committee of Ministers' Recommendation R (99) 19 on mediation in criminal matters. (excerpt)
Council Framework Decision of 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings
(2001/220/JHA)
Council of Europe. Confronting Everyday Violence in Europe: An Integrated Approach. Final Report of the Integrated Project Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society (2002-04)
Everyday violence poses a challenge to our fundamental values and therefore has to be met with a determined response. It is not an intrinsic part of the human condition: violence can be prevented and reduced while its consequences can be alleviated. But since violence in everyday life is a multifaceted problem with psychological, social, cultural and economic ramifications, it has to be confronted across this wide spectrum through a broad and co-ordinated partnership. By presenting the conclusions and results of the Integrated Project "Responses to violence in everyday life in a democratic society", carried out by the Council of Europe in 2002-04, this report sets out a European agenda for reducing everyday violence. Building on the Council's earlier work against violence, the Project focused on comprehensive policy development and the preparation of a new set of practical tools to prevent violence in everyday life. The objective of the report is to assist member states in their continuous task of confronting violence and making the lives of their citizens safer. The report is divided into four chapters: Chapter 1 presents twelve policy principles which can be used in the formulation of national policy and action plan for preventing and reducing violence in everyday life. Chapter 2 probes the extent of our knowledge about national situations related to everyday violence concluding with recommendations on improving such knowledge. Chapter 3 discusses structural and contextual factors of violence with reference to inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue, social cohesion, the mass media and fear of violence. Chapter 4 lists the results of the Integrated Project and other relevant Council of Europe documents providing a treasure trove for activities aimed at reducing violence. (excerpt)
Council of Europe. Mediation in penal matters. Recommendation No. R (99) 19.
In the form of a recommendation with accompanying materials, this document consists of an explicit recognition of the increasing use of mediation in penal matters and a set of principles to guide member States. The appendix to the recommendation provides a definition of penal mediation and general principles. It also provides more specific principles concerning the following: the legal basis for mediation; the operation of criminal justice in relation to mediation; the operation of mediation services; and the continuing development of mediation. An explanatory memorandum deals with the background to mediation in penal matters, and the Council of Europe and mediation. There are also commentaries on the preamble to the recommendation and on the appendix to the recommendation.
Council of the European Union. Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims.
(1) One of the objectives of the European Community is to abolish, as between Member States, obstacles to the free movement of persons and services. (2) The Court of Justice held in the Cowan(4) Case that, when Community law guarantees to a natural person the freedom to go to another Member State, the protection of that person from harm in the Member State in question, on the same basis as that of nationals and persons residing there, is a corollary of that freedom of movement. Measures to facilitate compensation to victims of crimes should form part of the realisation of this objective. (3) At its meeting in Tampere on 15 and 16 October 1999 , the European Council called for the drawing-up of minimum standards on the protection of the victims of crime, in particular on crime victims' access to justice and their rights to compensation for damages, including legal costs. (excerpt)
Council of the European Union. Council Framework Decision of 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings
A decision of the Council of the European Union on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings, including articles covering: respect and recognition; hearings, and provision of evidence; right to receive information; communication safeguards; specific assistance to the victim; victims' expenses with respect to criminal proceedings; right to protection; right to compensation in the course of criminal proceedings; penal mediation; victims resident in another Member State; cooperation between Member States; specialist services and victim support organisations; training for personnel; and practical conditions regarding the position of victims in proceedings, etc.
European Parliament. European network of national contact points for restorative justice
European Parliament legislative resolution on the initiative by 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 (11621/2002 -- C5 0467/2002 - 2002/0821(CNS)) (excerpt)
Miers, David and Willemsens, Jolien. National and international legislation on RJ
Based on the results of a questionnaire on the needs of the European restorative justice scene, and based on the work done in the framework of the COST Action A21, the presenters attempted to draw some conclusions on the interplay between national and international legislation on restorative justice. (excerpt)
Pelikan, Christa. Follow-up of the Recommendation No R (99) 19 ‘Mediation in Penal Matters'
In April 1999 the Committee of experts on mediation in penal matters (PC-MP), in compliance with the terms of reference given to it by the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) in 1996, drafted a recommendation entitled ‘Mediation in Penal Matters’ that was subsequently adopted by the Committee of Ministers in September 1999 as Recommendation No R (99) 19. Three years later the Criminological Scientific Council (PC-CSC) decided to commission a study on the follow-up to this Recommendation that was to focus on the extent to which and the manner in which this recommendation had been implemented in different member states and on the influence the Recommendation had exerted in bringing about changes in the field of victim-offender-mediation. (excerpt)
Pelikan, Christa. Follow-up study of Recommendation No R(99)19 of the Council of Europe
In September 1999 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Recommendation No R (99) 19 on "Mediation in Penal Matters." In 2002 the Criminological Scientific Council, an advisory body of the European Committee of Crime Problems within the Council of Europe, commissioned a follow-up study. Christa Pelikan, former chair of the committee that had drafted the Recommendation, was given the task to investigate the following matters related to it: (a) what had become of victim-offender mediation (VOM) in Europe; and (b) to what extent had the Recommendation been influential on VOM in Europe. Finding that the Recommendation had been quite influential, Pelikan in this article details the results of her follow-up study on its effects on VOM in Europe.
Pelikan, Christa. The draft recommendation of the Council of Europe on victim-offender-mediation
abstract unavailable
RECOMMENDATION No. R (85) 11
OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO MEMBER STATES ON THE POSITION OF THE VICTIM IN THE FRAMEWORK OF CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 28 June 1985 at the 387th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
RECOMMENDATION No. R (87) 21
OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO MEMBER STATES ON ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS AND THE PREVENTION OF VICTIMISATION (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 17 September 1987 at the 410th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
RECOMMENDATION No. R (92) 16
OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS TO MEMBER STATES ON THE EUROPEAN RULES ON COMMUNITY SANCTIONS AND MEASURES (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 October 1992 at the 482nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
Recommendation No. R (99) 19 of the Committee of Ministers to member States concerning mediation in penal matters
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 September 1999 at the 679th meeting of the Ministers=92 Deputies)
Willemsens, Jolien. Editorial
With this editorial, Jolien Willemsens introduces the first issue of the newsletter of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice. The Forum owes its beginnings to a small group of people with a strong commitment to mediation and restorative justice, as well as to an initial grant from the European Commission. As Willemsens states, with this newsletter the Forum seeks to promote at least two of its primary goals – namely, to facilitate the international exchange of information and mutual assistance with respect to mediation and restorative justice. In addition to the announcement and description of the newsletter, Willemsens updates the reader on several key activities in which the Forum is engaged.

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