“Restorative Justice provides closure and comfort for the victim and victims’ families”

Meeting – Panel discussion on “Restorative Justice for Children: A paradigm shift to protect children from violence in the criminal justice system” (co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Indonesia and Norway and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children)

Date/Time – Friday, 18 October 2013, 08:15 to 10:00am.

Location – Conference Room 6 (NLB).

Speakers – H.E. Ambassador Desra Percaya, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN; Marta Santos Pais, UN special representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children(SRSG); “Restorative justice for children- Key dimensions of the thematic report, SRSG on Violence against Children”; Anneli Ferguson, Ministry of Justice, Government of Norway, “Child-sensitive restorative justice, A priority in the Human Rights Dialogue between Indonesia and Norway”; Tim Chapman, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, “What is restorative Justice for children and why is it important?”; Anne Lindboe, Children’s Ombudsman of Norway, “Promoting a child sensitive restorative justice process”; Dr. Harkristuti HarKrisnowo, Director General, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Government of Indonesia, “A new paradigm in Indonesian legislation on restorative justice for children”.

Attended by – Modou Cham

Summary by – Modou Cham

images (2)What should we do with a child that commits a crime? How can we protect children in the criminal justice system? The question of how to treat (enforce punishment and offer protection) children in the criminal justice system has been debated for years.

The mission of Norway and Indonesia with the help of Doctors, Lawyers, and Educators, opened a dialogue and introduced alternative measures on how to help protect children in the criminal justice system. H.E. Mr. Percaya and H. E. Mr. Pedersen, acknowledged that weak legislation and unqualified professionals are to blame for the abuse children go through in the criminal justice system.

Ms. Pais introduced a program called Restorative Justice Process in which the victim, offender, community members, and other individuals affected by the crime are allowed to cohesively resolve the matter with the help of a mediator.

She also introduced a Restorative Justice Model called Family Group Conference, which allows the victim, the offender, and their families to hold a mediation and find an appropriate punishment for the offender. She acknowledged the improvement most nations have made in dealing with juveniles but expressed her discomfort with the justice system and hopes for suitable diversionary programs, instead of child imprisonment.

Dr. Harkrisnowo explained a new juvenile justice system in Indonesia, the laws are set to be introduced in 2014. It provides opportunities for the perpetrator to express his/her regret for causing harm to the victim and also provides social and educational services.

Ms. Ferguson agreed and suggested educating the victim, the offender, and the community to reduce the amount of crimes. In the same token, Mr. Chapman teaches a graduate level Restorative Practices Program, which takes the approach of community education. He Moreadvocated for joint education for children, parents, law enforcement, and social workers, because joint education can change the culture of fast imprisonment.

Dr. Lindboe elucidated that most juveniles come from a troubled background, before they are adolescent, they can experience neglect, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse which can then alter their behaviors. Her message to the panel and attendants was to start early with children, so they do not have to be introduced to the criminal justice system and suffer unnecessary abuse.

 Edited by Wayne Dean Doyle

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