On 13 of December 2016, our Board member Aarne Kinnunen (Finland) travelled to Minsk (Belarus) for the seminar ‘Alternative Resolution of Conflicts’ (withing the criminal justice system) organised by OSCE‘s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
From a report written by Maria Alcidi (Rule of Law Officer at OSCE), we know that:
‘The seminar brought together 70 judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers from different district courts in Belarus. Belorussian experts introduced the practice of reconciliation which exists in Belarus, described the rate of reconciled cases and highlighted concerns, such as the absence of a professionals involved, including mediators, social workers, psychologists. Experts from Austria and Finland presented their national respective experience with alternative resolution of conflicts, including: mediation, probation, community service, payment of a lump sum to the State. The concept of restorative justice, including its philosophical underpinnings and practical applications, was explored. Both the Belarus professor and the Finnish expert emphasised the “benefits” (including financial) of embracing this concept as opposed to the traditional idea of retributive justice. Participants demonstrated a clear interest in understanding how the “out of court” solutions to a conflict resulting into a crime operate in other countries. They also shared with experts their doubts vis-a-vis the applicability of such solutions to the Belarus context.’
More info, including pictures of the event, can be found here.