Source: (2012) Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Human Rights. 2-7 June 2012, Skopelos Island, Greece.

Restorative justice is conventionally characterised as a set of (experimental) social practices for handling crime and related social problems. However, it might also be characterised as a set of teachings or doctrines. If we characterise restorative justice thus, a range of interesting questions can be posed. To whom are these teachings addressed? What do they concern? How coherent are they? How hard would it be to follow the teachings of restorative justice? Would it be prudent to follow these teachings? Would it be ethical? What are the sources of the teachings of restorative justice? This paper first argues for the characterisation of restorative justice as a set of teachings and then sketches some preliminary answers to such questions. (author's abstract)