UAP Faculty Member Md. Saleh Akram wrote “The benefits of restorative justice” in the daily star newspaper.
Restorative justice is a process or mechanism to resolve a dispute outside the formal justice system. Its mandate is to allow the victim and the accused to negotiate on and resolve a dispute with the help of a trained facilitator. Mediation, reconciliation, restitution and compensation are the four elements of restorative justice system.
Crime is alleged as an act against the state. The society is comprised with social elements. For the purpose of making a society crime free, a society draws its attention to the criminal-victim relationships, political system, justice system, and other relevant issues. The criminal justice system is traditionally based on a punitive approach. Either a party will win or lose. Restorative justice sees crime as a conflict between individuals. The formal justice system provides the victim with the feelings of fear, distrust, guilt, shame, anger and helplessness, but the victim’s needs for restitution remains unnoticed.
The effort of restorative justice is on compensation to the victim for any types of loss, solving problems for the future, emotional needs to be addressed and a mutually agreeable restitution to be determined. Zehr and Mika (1998) pointed out three key ideas on support of restorative justice: firstly, restoration of peace and stability is necessary for the victim and the whole community who are affected by the incidence; secondly, the offenders have the duty to reformthemselves; and lastly, the collaborative unburdening of pain for all, i.e. victim, offender, and community.
In case of restorative justice system, the victim is given the opportunity to express his or her views directly to the offender, gain genuine compensation for losses, force to answer the offender about the offense, why he was involved with the crime and he or she committed crime against him or her. By obtaining answers from the offender, victims are more likely to receive restitution through one of the elements of restorative justice than through the court. On the other hand, offender is able to take direct and personal accountability, learn about the consequences of his or her actions, apologise and express regrets directly to the victim and it also gives the opportunity to the offender through which the scandal of his or her criminal record can be avoided. Restorative justice process save the society, society money and contribute to the peace of the community. In the entire cases victim and his or her family want the offender to be punished or try to take revenge because they do not have proper ideas about the system.
Therefore, in our country the imprisonment rate is much higher than the other countries. Yet the principles of restorative justice system are not implemented until the government and the judiciary takes necessary steps in this regard. Restorative justice system provides our people with more speedier, private, cost effective, time saving and sustainable relief. It reduces the burden of cases on the entire justice system. By negotiation both parties are satisfied with the results and it can be the best solution where both of them can work together to find a durable solution.
THE WRITER IS A LECTURER IN LAW, UNIVERSITY OF ASIA PACIFIC.