November 29, 2019. Tbilisi. The event organized by executive authorities of Georgia in cooperation with EU Judiciary Support Project, and UNICEF aimed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), review the last year’s achievements and challenges in the implementation process of diversion and mediation program and future plans of expanding restorative justice in Georgia to celebrate international week of Restorative Justice in Europe.
The event was opened by Minister of Justice, Tea Tsulukiani. Justice of Supreme Court of Georgia - Giorgi Shavliashvili, Deputy General Prosecutor - Giorgi Gogadze, UNICEF Representative Ghassan Khalil and Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation - Catalin Gherman welcomed the participants of the event. Minister Tsulukiani, Dr. Ghassan Khalil and the team leader of the EU4Justice Judiciary Support Project – Justice Renate Winter delivered keynote speeches about 30 years of the UN CRC and the Juvenile Justice Code of Georgia to the participants of the event.
Restorative Justice aims to encourage offenders to realize the 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. Restorative Justice principles are in line with the requirements of the CRC.
The process of establishment of Restorative Justice Concept in Georgia was launched 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. Adoption of the Juvenile Justice Code in 2015 further strengthened application of restorative approaches towards juveniles and young offenders.
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 more than 4000 juveniles and young persons under 21 have been diverted.
While the use of diversion index has been increasing, the rate of re-offense among diverted juveniles has remained low. This is the indication of program efficiency. Special focus was made to discuss existing services that are offered to juveniles in conflict with the law. Need to increase these services was highlighted.
General management of diversion and mediation programs is led by Crime Prevention Centre under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia in cooperation with common courts, Prosecutor’s office and National Probation Agency.
For the purposes of promoting Restorative Justice, distinguished professionals of these institutions were awarded on the event.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/