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"Mediation in criminal matters complements judicial processes and improves social cohesion."

Inés Olza, a researcher at the University, says that this tool financial aid helps to repair the damage a victim has suffered and can have a dissuasive effect on minors who commit crimes.

/Inés Olza Moreno, researcher at Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra.

18 | 01 | 2022

"Developing and formalizing mediation in the criminal field complements judicial processes and contributes to improving social cohesion". This was stated by Inés Olza, a researcher from the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, in the framework of the European Day of Mediation, which is celebrated on January 21. The expert coordinates InMedio, a new project for interdisciplinary reflection on the act of mediation.

In this process, "from a free and proactive perspective", victims and perpetrators meet so that the latter assume their responsibility and repair the damage caused to the former, he explained. 

This approach of restorative justice is not intended as goal to replace the traditional model of retributive justice: "Offenders do not receive any subject benefits or reduced sentences for participating in the process. The effects go beyond the penal system, they are personal. The goal is that the victim feels repaired". 

Inés Olza emphasised that the consensus of sitting down together "is only one step in a broad process", which includes "profound and particularly demanding" prior work with the person who has committed the crime or caused harm, as well as with the victim. "Forgiveness is not demanded of the victim. The aim is to see if they are psychologically, personally or vitally capable of being face to face with the aggressor without endangering their psychological integrity", he added.

An enforced link to the murderer of a loved one

According to the expert, agreement , mediation saves resources for the judicial system, as "thefact that a judge passes sentence does not mean that conflicts cannot arise againin the future". According to her, this procedure "empowers the parties to deal with a problem autonomously" and provides them with tools so that they do not have to resort to "external or extreme legal solutions" in the future. 

The researcher at group 'Emotional culture and identityThe ICS researcher considers that mediation can be very useful in murders and homicides because, in addition to the direct victim - the deceased - there are indirect victims, their loved ones. "The killer creates an imposed bond with them. By sitting face to face and listening to their remorse, they feel that they take ownership of the relationship, that they have some control over it," he said. 

Inés Olza also highlighted the dissuasive nature of criminal mediation in the case of offenders who, as minors, are not suitable for regular judicial proceedings. It offers a great opportunity," she pointed out, "to make them take responsibility for their actions, through direct communication with the person on whom they have inflicted harm.