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Restorative justice and victims of terrorism

September 6, 2010

For victims who do not want to engage in a direct face-to-face meeting with the offender, indirect victim– offender mediation is a possible alternative to communicate through an intermediary with the offender. If the victim cannot meet the offender, because he is unknown or dead, victim impact panels offer victims a forum where they can tell their story to an offender who is linked to the victim by a common kind of crime. In cases of terrorism, this could be a member of the same terrorist group or other representatives.

….On the basis of research findings with victims of terrorism it is shown that restorative justice practices may be possible in the context of terrorism, but need to be explored in further research studies. Moreover, it is revealed that vicarious victims are particularly affected by mass terrorist victimisation, which requires a restorative justice response at the community and the macro-level.

….As regards suicide terrorism, the chapter highlights that a restorative justice response could include the involvement of multiple responsibilities on the terrorist side. As regards religious terrorism, it is argued that a restorative justice response is possible when restorative justice values like respect, mutual care, accountability and trust are respected. Moreover, both parties must be willing to engage in a dialogical process, where the identification of the roles of victim and offender may also be addressed.

….The chapter concludes that traditional restorative justice practices as well as transitional justice mechanism integrated with restorative justice principles could play a role for victims of terrorism and the community in a broader context. In this respect, a global vision for a restorative justice response to terrorism needs to be developed that clearly focuses on victims of terrorism and addresses the micro-, meso- and macro-level.

A global vision on responding to terrorism guided by restorative justice principles and values would have the potential to result in concrete programmes for a more balanced approach in ‘the fight against terrorism’. Such a vision or strategy can already be observed in large-scale conflict situations and this approach could be transposed in cases of terrorism with a clear focus on the victims of terrorism.

Read the chapter.


Blog PostTerrorism
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