Everyone in this world makes mistakes. The bigger the mistake, the heavier the price. However most of the time, the tendency to commit crimes is due to emotional instability and not a true reflection of one’s intentions. Restorative justice represents this idea of repairing the harm caused by criminal acts instead of punishing the offender to satisfy a trembling legal system.
Spreading the Message
Ms. Meeran Nagi, a lawyer, is here with us at THIMUN Qatar 2014 to highlight the importance of restorative justice. Recalling a moment where a crime is being investigated, investigators ask: Who did it? How they did it? Who was affected? What will the punishment be? Rarely does the victim become the main focus. Nagi would like to remind us to ask ‘How will the victim move forward?’
Through the Eyes of the Victims
Ms. Nagi further adds that we must look at both sides (the victim and the offender) in order to understand the concept of restorative justice.
Aside from suffering from physical injuries, Nagi would like to point out that victims suffer emotionally and psychologically. The transition from being an ordinary person to a victim can be shocking to many of them. Nagi also added how studies have shown that injured need to understand why they become victims in the first place in order to accept forgiveness.
Statistics have also shown that restorative justice actually work. In Bastoy Prison, Norway prisoners are encouraged to utilize their prison time in anger management, local re-offender rate is at 16% – lower than 30% for the country or 70% for the UK.
Nagi ended her talk by reminding us that educating offenders makes more sense than letting them out on the streets, allowing them to commit their crimes again. Moreover for those who says that restorative justice is too soft on the perpetrators, just remember that Gandhi once said “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”
By Afif Haitsam
Photo By Jeneane Jaber