Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Restorative Justice Good for Fiji

Restorative justice ‘a healing process’

Last updated 12/5/2007 -
The community plays a large part in dispute resolution and in fact is central to many of the local dispute mechanisms, says Bua Provincial Council chairman and former GCC member, Ratu Filimoni Ralogaivau.
Ratu Filimoni said the community acts a monitor and arbitrator, providing an arena for private feelings to be vented in a public manner and acting as a safety measure and a sanctioning device to the confronting parties.
“There are a number of traditional dispute settlement mechanisms that have
existed in the Pacific societies for a very long time. Some follow simple forms of apology where minor disputes are settled informally between families,” said Ratu Filimoni.
Whilst others take on a structured court like process with a formal assembly of disputants and community members presided over by a designated person or group of persons who act on behalf of the community, said Ratu Filimoni. He said restorative justice brings victims and offenders together in a safe and structured manner before the sentence was imposed.
“Principles of restorative justice operate on the basis that offending behaviour may be prevented in the future if the offender is aware of the consequences of their actions and the harm caused.”

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