Restorative Justice, Gjonaj: 5 juvenile treatment centres set up

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TIRANA, June 14 /ATA/ – Tirana has hosted the 10th international conference of European Forum for Restorative Justice entitled “Expanding the vision for restorative justice – Restorative justice between realities and visions in Europe and further,” which is an alternative approach to justice supporting processes and restorative results for victims of crime and re-integration of perpetrators.

In her address to this conference, Minister of Justice, Etilda Gjonaj, stressed that restorative justice is one of the biggest novelties that Albania has introduced in its legislation.

“ Restorative justice is one of the most important novelties Albania has introduced into its legislation. Part of the Justice Reform that we have undertaken is the adoption of the Juvenile Justice Code, which entered into force on January 1, 2018. Currently we are on the phase of its enforcement, issuing sub-legal acts and establishing the relevant structures to implement the Code.”

Afterwards, minister Gjonaj focused on the concrete measures that have been taken to deal with minors in conflict with the law.

“We are at the stage of setting up five centres for dealing with juveniles in conflict with the law, in cooperation with the municipalities. Currently we have signed an agreement with the Municipality of Tirana, which includes mobilization of Probation Service institution, a part of the premises in each social center under the administration of this municipality, with the purpose of implementing programs for juveniles in conflict with the law. This agreement will be replicated in other municipalities as well,” the minister said.

The Head of OSCE Presence, ambassador Bernd Borchardt, said in his remarks, that “Restorative justice plays a crucial role in the system of criminal justice. Restorative justice is an approach to resolving the conflict involving the victim, perpetrator of crime, their acquaintances, justice institutions and community. The programs of restorative justice are based on basic principle that criminal act is not only a misconduct, it causes harm to the victim and community either. In every effort to address the consequences of criminal act, it is necessary to include, where possible, the perpetrator of the offense and the injured parties, while providing both the help and the support for the victim and the perpetrator.

Since 2014-2015, we supported victim-perpetrator mediation in Probation Service. This mediation service provided by the Albanian Foundation for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation of Disputes has been successful in 81 out of 92 cases, which means in 88% of all cases referred to mediation by the Probation Service. 57% of the persons involved were juveniles and young people “, – Borchardt said.

In attendance of the conference were Vasilika Hysi, Deputy Speaker of Albanian Parliament, and representatives of the EU Delegation to Albania, OSCE, UNICEF and Save the Children.
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