Two judicial districts to pilot expansion of restorative justice for juvenile offenders

23-11-2022 13:37

The Judges’ College of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to designate two pilot judicial districts in which to implement a comprehensive integrated restorative justice approach for juvenile offenders as well as probationers convicted of crimes that do not pose a significant public danger.

This is what is foreseen in the preliminary analysis prepared under the project “Strengthening the Professionalism in the Judiciary”, funded by NFM 2014-2021 and implemented by the SJC, which was discussed at a round table.

It clarifies the nature of restorative (conciliatory) justice, which contributes to the peaceful functioning of the community, to the creation of a convention of order. It is emphasized that it can complement traditional justice in order to restore damaged social ties and to achieve the necessary understanding of what happened.

The document also draws attention to Directive 2012/29/EU, which commits the state to creating conditions for a meeting between victims and perpetrators.

Owing to the Norwegian experience of integrating restorative justice into the conflict resolution system, the development of mechanisms and programmes for educational, correctional and preventive work with young offenders and adult offenders who do not pose a great danger to society have been highlighted as a priority.

Institutional development is also proposed, such as the development of training initiatives by the SJC in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Education and Science, municipal councils, probation services, prison administration, etc.

Furthermore: the Judges’ College of the SJC should designate two pilot judicial districts in which to apply a comprehensive integrated approach to juvenile offenders, as well as probationers. A draft law on diversion from criminal proceedings and imposition of educational measures on juveniles has been prepared.

The forum was attended by Boyan Magdalinchev – representing the SJC and head of the project, Tsvetinka Pashkunova and Stefan Petrov – members of the SJC, Rumen Nenkov – former member of the Constitutional Court, Dani Koleva from UNICEF Bulgaria, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, administrative heads of the judiciary, judges, prosecutors, representatives of state and non-governmental organizations.

The Norwegian experience was shared by Elizabeth Baumann – judge at the Borgarting Court of Appeal – Oslo, and Björn Larsen, who highly appreciated the document and commented that Bulgaria has a great potential for the implementation of restorative justice.