Just Times: Restorative Justice Responses in Dark Times

The 12th International Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) will focus on the potential of restorative justice at dark times, times when conflict, war and violence are either present or threaten most nations, regions and communities. Conflicts, war, and violence diminish peace, justice, rights and democracy, values we often take for granted. They can nourish fears and insecurities, while proliferating human (and environmental) harms and vulnerabilities. While restorative justice is widely used to respond to interpersonal conflicts and to challenge existing punitive justice systems, this conference wishes to open the discussion on the role of restorative justice in responding to larger scale war, conflict, and violence and their implications, while at the same time transforming those structural and entrenched societal dynamics that feed them. This is in line with one of the aims of the restorative justice movement to create a cultural change not only in justice systems but also in societies as a whole. 

Important: Are you interested in joining the pre-conference training as well? Then please register for both events (the training and the CONFERENCE as well) ONLY on the PAGE of the TRAINING. If you are attending only the conference register here. 

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Info on registrations

Early bird deadline: 15 March 2024

Click below to know more about registration fees (including our solidarity price model, members' discounts and waiver applications) and deadlines. To register, click on SUBSCRIBE (above).

Citation Brecht on dark times for Tallinn conference

Does restorative justice have a role to play in “dark times”?

Starting from this question, this conference will give the floor to international experts in the fields of violence reduction, crisis management, war studies, diplomacy, peacebuilding and transitional justice to support the restorative justice community in finding synergies with other relevant areas of work dedicated to respond to different contexts and situations that characterise “dark times”. Among the plenary speakers, there will be academics, policymakers, service directors and young activists witnesses of violence, from different continents. Such an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together different sources of relevant knowledge in theory, practice and experience, will serve as inspiration for our restorative justice audience to further advance the field. 

The audience, including restorative justice professionals from all over the world, will have the possibility to propose parallel workshop sessions to further build on the plenary topics, or to propose other topics relevant for restorative justice. This will also be the space for discussions and reflections on the challenges of the restorative justice field within its more “classical” application in the criminal justice settings.

Photo view of Tallinn

What about restorative justice in Tallinn?

The choice of the location hosting our conference is not coincidental. Estonia is one of the three Baltic countries, together with Latvia and Lithuania, who experienced first the German, and then the Soviet occupation in the last century. Because of this, the ongoing war in Ukraine has brought up a lot of dormant traumas, feelings of injustice, and empathy for everyone affected by conflicts around the world. The experiences of the 20th century have  had a complex impact on their justice systems, first more punitive and then more innovative and forward-looking. Thanks to all the reforms carried out during its 30 years of re-independence, Estonia is highly ranked in terms of quality of life, education, freedom of speech and technology developments. 

Our local hosts, the Social Insurance Board in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Justice, are well known in our field for their innovative work in the field of restorative justice, especially in cases such as domestic violence and sexual child abuse, cases involving young people and refugees, and cases where practices had to be adapted to digital settings. They have used restorative practices in community conflicts sparked by unexpected events such as the global pandemic or public shootings. Also RuaCrew joined the local organising team: since 2009, this NGO works to prevent and respond to social problems and delinquency, giving support to young people and their families with restorative-oriented approaches.

Thanks to their local cooperation networks, the programme will also include some field trips to get to know Estonian realities relevant for restorative justice (or for your cultural interests).

12th International EFRJ Conference in Tallinn - poster

Draft programme of the week

Tallinn, 28-31 May 2024

In order to plan your trip accordingly, please find below a draft agenda of the full week in Tallinn. The 3-day conference includes several plenary sessions and about 8 parallel workshop sessions, as well as social moments and local field trips. Other initiatives bringing us together in Tallinn are the Annual General Meeting of the EFRJ membership, the European RJ Award Ceremony and the pre-conference training.

Tue 28/5

Wed 29/5

Thu 30/5 

Fri 31/5

9-16 Pre-conference training

9-17 Conference

9-17 Conference



20-23 Social dinner

9-12 Conference


17-19 AGM + RJ award ceremony + reception

14-18 Parallel field trips

Plenary speakers

For this conference, we organise plenaries on violence reduction, on youth peacemaking, and on transitional justice and their relevance for restiorative justice. We are currently inviting the six selected speakers; for now, we can confirm the following:

Gary Slutkin (United States) 

Gary is an epidemiologist and an innovator in violence reduction. Gary applied lessons learned from more than a decade fighting epidemics to the creation of Cure Violence, a public health approach to violence reduction that has been statistically validated by two independent evaluations conducted by the Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control. The program is being replicated at more than 30 sites in 15 U.S. cities, as well as five countries abroad. See TED talk: “What if we treated violence like a contagious disease?”.

Rondine Citta della Pace (Italy) 

Rondine advocates that all Member States dedicate a part of their military budget to educate young people in peace work. The Rondine model brings together about 25 university students from conflict zones (Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia…) for two years peace studies in a residence in Italy. After two years, the Rondini d'Oro (the "golden" students who completed the programme) are expected to continue their peace work, based on dialogue and meeting the other, once they return to their home countries. In 2015, Rondine was nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Camilo Eduardo Umaña Hernández (Colombia) 

Camilo is currently the vice-minister of criminal justice and restorative justice policies and law professor at the Externado University in Bogotá. He worked with the Colombian Truth Commission for over a year as an expert on access to justice and impunity, and he has also been a consultant for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on transitional justice and the National Ombudsman on restorative justice. He is thus a political person with strong academic background, who will reflect on the lessons on restorative justice and peacemaking in Colombia, making them relevant also for the European context. See blog piece by our KUL colleagues.

Call for proposals

Deadline: 17 December 2023

The EFRJ is a platform for bringing people together, and its conferences are the best occasion to show the variety of expertise that the restorative justice movement includes, involving practitioners, researchers, academics, legal professionals, social workers, artists, policy makers and activists. 

Propose your idea for one of the parallel workshops during the 12th international EFRJ conference (29-31 May 2024). 

The webform for submissions is now open. An info session is organised on 16/11/2023: register here.

Tallinn - Nõmme railway station


More info on the conference will be published in the coming months on this webpage.

Registrations are opened until 30 April 2024 (early bird: 15 March). More info here.

The conference will take place in Tallinn University Conference Center (TUCC), Uus-Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn.
There is no direct public transport connection between TUCC and Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport. If you need to get to the TUCC directly from the airport, please use a taxi or ridesharing service. From the city centre, trams number 1 and 3 stop directly in front of Tallinn University (stop: Tallinna Ülikool). Buses 1, 34, 38 also stop near the university (stop L. Koidula). Find here the timetables and route maps to all public transport lines in Tallinn.

To organise your trip to Tallinn please visit www.visittallinn.ee, where you can find information about the city's public transport system, major attractions, events, activities, restaurants, and many other relevant topics in five different languages (English, Estonian, Russian, Finnish, and German).

Getting to Tallinn
Travel to the conference by train and other low-carbon modes of transportation using the eco-friendly travel tips of Belinda Hopkins.

Photo credits: VisitTallinn Media Bank
Banner: "Tallinn Old Town towers and town wall" by Kaupo Kalda
Photo: "Kohtuotsa viewing platform" by Kadi-Liis Koppel
Photo: "Nõmme railway station" by Maret Põldveer-Turay