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Restoration and Retribution in International Criminal Justice: An Exploratory Analysis

Roberts, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Andrew von Hirsch, et. al., eds., Restorative Justice and Criminal Justice: Competing or Reconcilable Paradigms? Oxford and Portland, Orgeon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 115-134.

Restorative justice is an international phenomenon involving cultural borrowing, cross-fertilization of ideas and practices, and supra-national initiatives. Its growing appeal indicates that it is both timely – in relation to crises in penal administration – and affirmative of moral principles of human welfare and social organization – such as empowerment, democracy, community, healing, reconciliation, and crime reduction. Yet, comments Paul Roberts, deeper issues of the justification, priority, and implementation of restorative justice remain unresolved. For example, is restorative justice compatible with traditional penal thinking, or does it require a radical revision of criminal justice? Is it a supplement to or substitution for traditional criminal process? Moreover, while there is considerable discussion of such issues in terms of their significance for national jurisdictions, less attention is being given to explicitly international or comparative dimensions of these matters. Roberts sees this inattention as almost contradictory to restorative justice’s patently international pedigree. Hence, Roberts seeks to examine foundational claims and suppositions of restorative justice through an explicitly ‘international criminal justice’ lens. In the course of his discussion, he pays particular attention to criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court.


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