November 2, 2017. Tbilisi. The conference organized by the Government of Georgia with support of EU and UNICEF aims at reviewing the results of diversion and mediation programs and implementation of restorative justice approach in the criminal proceedings. The chair of UN Child Rights Committee, Team Leader of the EU4Justice Judiciary Support Project – Justice Renate Winter and the director of Leuven Institute of Criminology, Professor Ivo Aertsen, leading European researcher on restorative justice issues, are participating in the conference.
The conference is held with support of EU Judiciary Support Project within the framework of the Days of Restorative Justice in Georgia.
Upon enactment of the Juvenile Justice Code a prosecutor is obliged to consider the possibility of diversion in the first place and initiate prosecution only if the decision is negative.
Diversion has been actively applied in practice since 2017 and the rate of diversion has increased. The number of cases of initiation of prosecution against minors, their detention and imprisonment decreased. The term for taking final decisions on the cases of minors have also been shortened. In parallel with increase of diversion rate, the indicator of committing a repeated offense by diverted minors is low which indicates to efficiency of the program. Only 9% of diverted young people have been reported to commit a repeated offence with the term of 3 years upon expiration of the agreement.
Restorative Justice aims to encourage offender to realize results of his/her wrongdoing and become compassionate towards victim. Restorative Justice is the process of defining damage, needs, responsibilities, and obligations correlated to specific crime. The process of damage redress and reconciliation includes parties – both the offender and the victim, state, society and the community as well.
The concept of restorative justice in Georgia was introduced in 2010 with the enactment of Diversion and Mediation programs as an alternative mechanism to criminal prosecution. Diversion programs enable a Prosecutor or a judge to avoid criminal prosecution mechanism and at the same time to provide proper response to the crime and to interests of the victim.
Diversion is a chance for young persons to continue with normal life and re-socialize without conviction and the sentence through realizing responsibility and committing to specific obligations. Since 2010 over 2300 juveniles and young persons under 21 have been diverted.
General management of diversion and mediation programs is led by Crime Prevention Centre under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.
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