Correlation of restorative justice principles and fair trial standards in criminal procedure

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Author: Olga Kiseleva

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2020-4-134-146

Keywords: criminal justice; reconciliation practices in criminal procedure; restorative justice; the right to a fair trial


Restorative Justice – which shifts from defining a crime as a breach of law to defining it as causing harm to an individual – is gaining ground in the criminal justice systems of countries on different continents. Different restorative justice programs such as mediation, peacemaking circles, family group conferences and their combinations are positioned as individual, flexible approaches to every crime committed: these practices give citizens the possibility to choose a solution that is the most acceptable personally to them. Adoption of international standards on restorative justice in criminal matters by the most authoritative international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations confirms these tendencies. Inclusion of the informal practices into criminal proceedings requires a  criminal justice system organisation that makes it possible for the rights of all of the participants to the restorative justice programs to be respected. In this regard, all of the international documents on restorative justice in criminal matters pay attention to the necessity of application of the procedural guarantees to restorative justice including the right of an accused to a fair trial. However, such provision requires a more thorough analysis for implementation because fair trial standards have been shaped to protect an individual from the abuse of state power. Moreover, these standards have been developing within the paradigm of retributive or punitive justice. However, in the restorative approach to crime, the offender should acknowledge the facts of the case and be ready to repair harm as well as take responsibility for the crime committed. Evidently, these basic conditions of carrying out restorative justice programs can raise concerns about the possibility of putting an offender at risk of having  his right to a fair trial violated. Very often these factors are used as arguments against the implementation of the restorative justice in criminal matters. The author of the paper examines the norms contained in international documents on the application of fair trial standards to restorative justice as a model framework where the state is the guarantor and guardian of the rights of all of the parties to the proceedings while at the same time ensuring independence of restorative justice from the criminal justice system.

About the author: Olga Kiseleva – Ph.D. student, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Kiseleva O. (2020) Sootnoshenie vosstanovitel'nogo pravosudiya i standartov spravedlivogo sudebnogo razbiratel'stva v ugolovnom protsesse [Correlation of principles of restorative justice and fair trial standards in criminal proceedings]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.29, no.4, pp.134–146. (In Russian).


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