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Victims in the Village: Aspects of Restorative Justice in Papua New Guinea

Banks, Cyndi
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) International Review of Victimology. 6(4): 377- 405.

In the villages of Vanimo West Coast, Papua New Guinea, restorative justice processes continue to adhere to traditional practices and beliefs. The article examines how modernization has influenced traditional restorative practices and in particular how the criminal justice system is perceived and used by indigenous peoples. It also identifies the kinds of acts considered injurious, traditional restorative justice practices, and modern attitudes and practices by victims seeking justice. Villages have maintained a private/public distinction in their disputes, keeping disputes between close kin private, and publicizing others. Traditionally, disputes made public would be taken to the Chief. Today, in some cases, the courts and the community government council are the chosen forums for publication. Sometimes a victim seeks only to shame the offender by making the dispute public, this being an end in itself. The article makes explicit the capacity of victims for adaptation and the continued resilience of custom in resolving grievances. Abstract courtesy of Natinal Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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