Chair: Antony Pemberton
Victims and Justice Processes
Author: Pemberton Antony, INTERVICT, Tilburg University
Title: An Ontological Assault and Justice Processes
In her The Faces of Injsutice Judith Shklar crucially pointed to the difference between undoing injustice and doing justice. Examining injustice “as an independent phenomenon in its own right” led her to understand justice and injustice as asymmetrical concepts, rather than as polar opposites on one dimension. Injustice is embodied, emotional, idiosyncratic and context-dependent, while justice is committed to well-oiled social functioning, and is rule-bound, universal, context-independent.
Shklar passed away before she could fully analyse the core underlying distinctions between the experience of injustice and justice processes, which is a key, even the main challenge of Victimology.
In this paper the presenter will argue that understanding the experience of injustice as an ontological assault, is a helpful avenue to understand that injustice relates to experience with in a self, while justice concerns the relationships between others. To do so he marshals Susan Brison’s phenomenological account of her own rape as well as a number of concepts and lines of thinking from Heidegger’s Being and Time.
Keywords: victimology, justice processes, restorative justice
Author: Vezzadinni Suzanna, University of Bologna
Title: What About Restorative Justice Practices in Italy After Eu Directive 29/2012?
While in more recent years the attention for victims of crime in Italy has known an increasing (but often ambivalent in contents and effectiveness) consideration on political agenda and media interest, the concrete opportunity to intervene in the criminal justice system – and on the procedural criminal scene - is still partial and in some cases actually lacking. In particular, some obstacles of different nature still remain with regard to the implementation of restorative justice practices despite the spread consideration they benefit among professionals and, above all, the almost numerous laws promulgated on this matter also before the EU Directive 29/2012 (i.e. see: art. 47 of the Italian Penitentiary Code in 1975; art. 28 of the Juvenile Criminal Procedural Code in 1988; Dlgs n. 274/2000 on the penal competences of the single “Judge of the Peace”; Law n. 67/2014 on the probation for adult criminals; Law n. 103/2017 introducing important changes on Penal, Procedural and Penitentiary Codes).
The contribution aims to explore the reasons why the culture of restorative justice paradigm and in specific restorative justice practices still encounter difficulties and misunderstanding in their implementation, taking into consideration the peculiar point of view of judges and lawyers of the criminal justice system, mediators and workers of Social Services, and above all victims of crime and the Italian public opinion.
Keywords: Restorative justice, victimology, implementation, EU criminal justice
Author: Fonseca Rosenblatt Fernanda , Catholic University of Pernambuco
Title: Judges and Domestic Violence Courts in Brazil: the problems of poor training, standardised justice, sexism, and the odds of a restorative way forward.
This presentation is based on part of the findings of a bigger research project, commissioned by Brazil’s National Council of Justice. The project was generally aimed at understanding how domestic violence courts have been handling violence against women in the country. The findings discussed here are drawn from semi-structured interviews with all judges sitting on the domestic violence courts included in the study. During the interviews, we explored the judges’ views on a variety of issues: the importance of the protective measures for victims (e.g. restraining orders); the fact that our domestic violence law hinders the use of alternative measures during trial proceedings (e.g. the possibility of trials being suspended against the defendant); their perceptions about the use of restorative justice practices in cases of domestic violence; among other topics. Our findings suggest that most of the judges do not have any training in the gender or domestic violence fields. Their lack of expertise has made it difficult for them to work on a case-by-case basis. Indeed, the problem of ‘standardised justice’ became apparent during our interviews. Moreover, judges were often sexist in their responses, saying, for example, that ‘some women do not deserve protection’, or that ‘there should also exist a domestic violence law for men’ (a ‘Joao da Penha’ Law). Finally, most judges are in favour of our domestic violence law’s more punitive stance toward domestic violence offenders, but when asked explicitly about restorative justice, what we found was that: (a) the use of restorative justice in cases of domestic violence is still not a reality in Brazil; (b) there is still a lack of understanding about its concept and foundational principles; (c) the lack of training, again, is very clear; and (d) most judges said they favoured the use of restorative justice, but where sceptical about what they see as a ‘top-down’ movement on behalf of the National Council of Justice.
Keywords: Domestic violence, Restorative Justice
Author: Manikis Marie , McGill University
Title: Conceiving the Victim across the public-private spectrum
This paper argues that the scholarship to date on victims in the criminal justice process has mainly adopted a private conception of victims – as bearers of individual interests and personal rights – rather than a conception of the victim as an actor with public functions, who has historically and continuously taken on an active role in the common law tradition. The latter conception enables a greater understanding of some of the various developments around victim participation in common law criminal justice systems, including private prosecutions and review processes, and provides a useful analytical tool to understand the different participatory roles of victims.
Keywords: Victim identity, victim perception