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Restorative justice – the reconciliation of the victim of the crime and the offender: to be or not to be?

Law Institute of Lithuania on 25th of November 2014 in the Conference hall of the Ministry of Justice organized a scientific-practical conference "Restorative justice perspectives Lithuania”. During the conference were presented the results of the project "Restorative justice perspective in Lithuania” (MIP-016/2013) funded by the Lithuanian Research Council.

Study leader Law Institute of Lithuania senior research fellow Dr. Ilona Michailovič, whilw presenting the work carried out, noted that restorative justice is a process in which an impartial, disinterested party seeks reconciliation between the victim and the offender. In Lithuania such processes has no legal basis, even though their manifestations can be observed in criminal law when the parties are reconciled.

One of the researchers Law Institute of Lithuania senior research fellow Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis talked about the benefits of the mediation process for the parties. For the crime victim mediation is useful because it has the ability to recover damages; during the court proceedings it takes a very long time. No less important for the victim is to feel respect, to hear an apology, to reduce tension and fear. Offender mediation can provide softer legal and social consequences, to have an educational impact. Mediation is also useful for the officials - they would be able to enforce their typical functions, as well as lower the costs of the judicial process.

Vice-President of Vilnius District Court Alenas Piesliakas, in accordance to his experience as a judge, gave some examples which show that mediation would help in court proceedings to resolve a number of conflicts.

“During one trial we saw, how the victims of the accident, at the time, showed the initiative to communicate, but the offender, a young girl, just did not want to communicate. There have been cases where both parties are seeking reconciliation, but the lawyer did not try to find a solution. If you are a subject to mediation, these issues wouldn’t be just the issue of the court "- said the judge.

A.Piesliakas emphasized a number of issues that will inevitably rise after the introduction of mediation, but said that this process would be especially beneficial for juvenile crime or domestic violence cases where violence is a one-time event.

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