Up to 5000 youths got involved in the Restorative Justice Programmes (diversion and mediation) in Georgia within the last ten years

19 May 2021
Juvenile Justice report
UNICEF

19 May 2021. Tbilisi. A conference summarizing the last ten years' outcomes of Juveniles' Diversion and Mediation Programmes of the restorative justice was held by the initiative of the National Crime Prevention and Probation Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, EU project “Enhancing Implementation of Judiciary Reforms in Georgia” and EU and UNICEF joint project on “Strengthening Systems and Services for Child Protection in Georgia”.  

Diversion and mediation are based on the concept of restorative justice and maximally consider the interests of a person in conflict with the law and the victim and serve as an effective measure for preventing repeated crime. The programme is implemented through cooperation between the National Crime Prevention and Probation Agency and the Prosecutor's Office.

Deputy Minister of Justice Valery (Buba) Lomuashvili, EU4 Justice Judiciary Support project leader, Justice Renate Winter, UNICEF Representative in Georgia Ghassan Khalil, EU project expert, Professor Ivo Aertsen, Deputy Prosecutor General Natia Merebashvili, practitioners involved in the implementation of restorative justice programmes and representatives of CSOs and international organizations attended the conference. 

The meeting focused on the outcomes of 2020, the problems caused by the pandemics and the ways to cope with them as an opportunity for further improvement of the programme. Professor Ivo Erzen presented the findings of the study regarding the summarization of the 10 years of the diversion/mediation programme conducted within the scope of the EU project.

The Juvenile Diversion Programme was launched in November 2010. As of 31 December 2020, up to 5,000 juveniles (aged 14-18) and youths (aged 18-21) were diverted with the programme's help, while the confirmed repeated crime rate is approximately 9%. 

 

 

Many things have changed for the better in the programme, including the mediator's role that has grown by 2014. The above improvements have drawn the programme even closer to the restorative justice principles, significantly increasing the extent of mediation. Juvenile Justice Code came into force in 2016. In addition to many other novelties that it has introduced, the diversion mechanism improved even further. Diversion became applicable at the court stage and was applied to youths aged 19-21 as well. In July 2020, a distance mediation model was activated. It is best suited to the needs of protection of safety and health of the parties to mediation. The above mechanism is used to continue and improve the current practice of restorative justice amidst the spread of COVID-19.

Prominent professionals of their respective fields: prosecutors, mediators and social workers involved in the programme were awarded at the meeting.

The diversion and mediation programme enables juveniles in conflict with the law to live without a criminal record and serving a sentence. Along with obligations, participation in the programme allows the involvement of juveniles in various youth and social projects, providing them with an incentive to start a law-abiding life and make the necessary steps to integrate into society.

The development of the diversion and restorative programmes have a permanent support of the EU project - Support to the Judicial Reform, UNICEF and EU Delegation in Georgia.

Media contacts

Maya Kurtsikidze
Communication Specialist, Head of Communication Section
UNICEF Georgia

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