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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.

Willemsens, Jolien. Report of the launching meeting of the Forum
In this article Jolien Willemsens reports on the launching of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice. At meetings in Leuven, Belgium, on December 8 and 9, 2000, several dozen people from more than a dozen European countries participated in the launch of the Forum. Their work involved drafting a constitution for the Forum, stipulating requirements for joining the Forum and signing the constitution, holding the first general meeting of the Forum, and developing business structures and program committees for the Forum. Twelve representatives from various organizations and thirty two individuals signed as original members of the Forum.
Wright, Martin. "Establishment of the European Association for Restorative Justice."
In this short piece, Martin Wright reports on the establishment of the European Association for Restorative Justice (EARJ). Much of the initiative behind the establishment of this organization comes from efforts of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). The university has long been active in criminal justice issues. The university has participated in international conferences and has hosted an international course on restorative justice. Several of the academic staff have researched and promoted restorative justice. Now, led by Tony Peters and Ivo Aertsen, funds have been obtained from the European Union to organize the European Association for Restorative Justice for one year. The steering committee has proposed the following purposes and activities for the EARJ. The basic aim is to establish and develop principles, ethics, training, and practices of restorative justice, with an emphasis on victim/offender mediation, throughout Europe. Immediate objectives include holding a conference, publishing proceedings, starting a newsletter, and obtaining future funding. The EARJ will bring together practitioners to improve practices, but will also seek to influence policy makers in European countries and the Council of Europe.
van der Does, Vera. Negotiating Mediation:Aims and obstacles introducing legislative instruments on mediation in criminal cases at European Union level.
The paper will study the thesis that since the adoption of the Framework Decision on the Standing of Victims in Criminal Proceedings of 20011 it can be concluded that the European Union considers restorative justice and victim-offender mediation to fall within its area of competence. Consequently, the European Union will continue working on these issues, possibly developing more legislative instruments. In the first part of the paper I will present the research methodology explaining objectives, methods, the questionnaire used and the related challenges and limitations. Part Two will provide background information as regards the recent developments and documents issued at international and European level. Part Three will evaluate the Framework Decision as the first legally-binding European Union (hereafter: EU) document and article 10 in particular. Part Four will present an overview of the key results from the data collected through the questionnaire answered by respondents from 17 out of the 25 Member States. A further role of European legislation in respect to restorative justice (hereafter: RJ) and victimoffender mediation (hereafter: VOM) in the EU is the issue examined in Part Five. (Author's abstract)

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