The promotion of restorative justice is relevant to the achievement of Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on peaceful and inclusive societies, in particular its Target 3 on promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensuring access to justice for all. As a participatory process, restorative justice allows for a rights-based victim-centred approach in comparison to the offender-centric approach commonly observed in conventional criminal justice processes. To ensure the successful provision of restorative justice programmes, criminal justice practitioners must be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary for effective restorative justice interventions.

ICCLR has a long history of engaging in projects that promote and advance restorative justice programming. In November 2017, as mandated by the Economic and Social Council resolution 2016/17, UNODC convened an expert group meeting attended by ICCLR associates in Ottawa, to review the use and application of the Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters, as well as new developments and innovative approaches in the area of restorative justice. The expert group recommended that additional practical guidance be developed on various issues concerning restorative justice in criminal matters. A suggestion endorsed by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, at its 27th session. As a result a second edition of the UNODC Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes was developed by ICCLR Senior Associate
Prof. Yvon Dandurand and Ms. Annette Vogt and published in May 2020 by UNODC in collaboration with the Thailand Institute of Justice. Since then, the Handbook has been widely used, both as a reference document and a training tool, by policymakers, legislators, criminal justice professionals, community groups, and restorative justice practitioners.

Prof. Dandurand, with Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee and Mr. Ukrit Sornprohm of TIJ, co-directed a national study of the implementation of restorative justice in Thailand. The study report, Harmonious Justice: The State of Restorative Justice in Thailand, identified the need for a comprehensive national strategy accompanied by a sustained capacity building initiative for the effective delivery of restorative justice interventions at all stages of the criminal justice process, and beyond. A majority of the practitioners interviewed during the study expressed the need for capacity building initiatives and a more structured training programme on restorative justice. Building on this momentum, ICCLR and TIJ are now working closely to develop a training curriculum for restorative justice champions and practitioners in Thailand.

Photo by William Rouse on Unsplash.

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