Day 6 (22/11) – RJ and serious criminality


RJ practices are not (and should not be) dedicated only to low-grade delinquency but even more to serious crime. Indeed, the gravity of an act per se can not be an argument against its restorative approach, but on the contrary: given that serious crime provoke more human suffering and harm, RJ approach in these cases is considered even more necessary and important. In addition, empirical research shows that the restorative approach can and is already being applied to serious crime, such as homicide, sexual violence, armed robbery, etc. But what happens in the cases cases that create more resistance and debate such as political violence and sexual violence? Could we implement RJ practices to such cases? The international debate on this subject is wide and in continuous evolution in both theoretical and empirical level.

In the first article, the discussion is focused on RJ and terrorism. In fact,  two European countries, Italy and the Basque Country come to provide two different examples of RJ initiatives for dealing with human suffering caused by terrorist acts. Brunilda, the author of the article is a Post-doctoral researcher at the Leuven Institute of Criminology, working on restorative justice application to conflicts in intercultural settings. Her interests relate to critical social theory and psychoanalysis and a EFRJ Board member. In her article, inspired by the above-mentioned RJ initiatives in Italy and in the Basque Country, she reflects on RJ and its potential in responding to terrorist acts.

In the second article, the focus is on the appropriateness of RJ practices in cases of sexual violence. In particular, the authors provide a comparison between the way that those cases are addressed by traditional criminal justice system and the way RJ approaches them. In addition, the authors discuss concerns about the use of RJ in sexual violence and provide reflection regarding the prevention of issues such as secondary victimization, power imbalances, etc. Estelle is an international RJ scholar and the coordinator of the European project (Daphne III) ‘Developing integrated responses to sexual violence: An interdisciplinary research project on the potential of restorative justice’. Marie has served on several statutory boards internationally in relation to policy responses to sexual violence and abuse and recognized as one of the main leading international scholars in the theme of RJ and sexual violence.


  • PALI Brunilda, “Restorative justice and terrorism: resisting evil with non-evil?”

  • ZINSSTAG Estelle & KEENAN Marie (2014), “Restorative justice and sexual offences: can ‘changing lenses’ be appropriate in this case too?”, Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform. 97. 93-110

This art-piece is a Greek production film, fruit of the collaboration between Katerina Soulou and Evdokimos Tsolakidis. Katerina is a PhD candidate in Criminal Law, working on RJ and a EFRJ Board member. Evdokimos is an actor, playwright, drama teacher, founder and artistic director of the Theater of Changes, whose students play in the film. The film was produced for the workshop session “The theatricality of human drama and restorative justice”, presented by Katerina during the 10th EFRJ International Conference (Tirana, 14-16 June 2018). The story is about a fictional mediation between the mother of a young boy accidentally killed during a terrorist attack and a former member of the terrorist organization. The dialogue is inspired, though, by the real cases of Italy and the Basque Country, presented in 2017 in Como (Italy) during the EFRJ Summer School on the use of RJ in cases of serious crimes in which Katerina participated.


  • SOULOU Katerina, TSOLAKIDIS Evdokimos, “Re-storying a terrorist tragedy: The encounter” (Tirana 16 June 2018)

Restorative Justice (RJ) awareness campaign launched  by

the  Center for the Study of Crime (CESC)

in collaboration with

Katerina Soulou

PhD candidate Aix-Marseille University

European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) Board member

Athens, 17-24 November 2019

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