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:: Introduction ::
 | Post date: 2018/05/23 | 

When the idea of holding a biennial conference on restorative justice in Tehran was raised during the closing ceremony of the first conference (May 2016), this notion, seemed slightly farfetched and over-ambitious. At the time, it was perceived that no new developments would come to forth in this arena and that the newly published Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice and a few other publications and book translations would suffice.
Nevertheless, the deep roots of restorative ideas in the context of Iranian culture and conceptual transformations of restorative justice as an evolving paradigm showed that restorative justice, unlike many other technical subjects of criminal law, is far more fluid and fertile than being confined to merely a one-off conference or a few articles. If we accept that, one of the grounds for the emergence of the concepts of restorative justice was the frustration with the lack of efficacy of traditional criminal interventions, it must be acknowledged that the result of empirical research around restorative interventions will inevitably shape the future of the policies and programs of restorative justice.
Along with the evolution of the concept of restorative justice and the expansion of its territory, today, restorative justice is not just a trait for "justice," but a fundamental change in the way of thinking and living. For this reason, besides the word "restorative justice", today we deal with concepts such as restorative culture, restorative life, restorative family, restorative city. These concepts appeared fortunately just as our destiny and social and political life needed it the most. In the light of the guiding philosophy and principles of restorative justice, we learn how to talk to each other, how to find a solution instead of emphasizing on punishment for the crime, and how to build a network of thoughts and ideas supporting restorative and non-punitive interventions.
In the restorative justice discourse, public opinion is no longer a tool used maliciously, but is among the main pillars of the formation of non-punitive interventions. As John Braithwaite remarks, there is no reintegrative shaming feeling against the police, the judge, or the media, but we usually feel ashamed in front of those whom we respect and trust the most.
The restorative justice approach is, in fact, a form of contemplation and reflection that is exercised to deal with the many unpleasant aspects of everyday life. The trend of restorative justice advocates finding a solution to the problems that resulted in the act of crime, rather than to punish the criminal. This restorative notion is rooted in the fact that following being acquainted with the criminal’s personality, culture and the social context which the crime was committed, one is less likely to be a proponent of punitive justice and retribution.
The Second International Conference on restorative justice, in fact, should be considered as a restorative family meeting with the restorative justice family members, representing various university disciplines as well as the diverse cultures of the Silk Road. In fact, the Silk Road is no longer considered as a trade route, but a crossroad for dialogue between cultures, religions, as well as justice systems and a bridge linking Eastern and Western civilizations.  One of the aims of this conference is to create an atmosphere suitable for dialogue between experts and specialists from various academic fields representing Eastern civilizations. Despite the efforts of various disciplines of the Social sciences and humanities to identify the problems of the human community and provide solutions for a sustainable and harmonious human interactions, it seems that these sciences are far removed from each other because of the specialization and divisions of sciences, and have lost the ability and skills of dialogue and communication. Restorative justice is an avenue to gather legal and experimental criminal law sciences, mysticism, philosophy, religion, literature, sociology, psychology, and other thinkers who unconsciously deal with concepts and mechanisms of restorative justice on a daily basis.
What makes the importance of discussing the issue of restorative justice in the context of traditional and indigenous Asian cultures more relevant is the restorative capacity available in the context of native cultures and the mystical and religious teachings of Asian societies. It seems that the communal culture of the east, the role that family members play when a crime is committed, the participation of the people harmed by the crime in finding solutions to the consequences of the crime and trying to maintain emotional and human interactions is far more prone to adopting patterns of restorative justice than Individualism dominating in some Western societies. While part of Eastern cultural traditions and indigenous concepts are based on the unofficial resolution of disputes, over the last few years these concepts have been marginalized on the pretext of modernizing and reforming the criminal justice system. The experience of the civilizations and legal systems of the Silk Road countries to create synergies and interactions between informal and formal justice and how to benefit from the gains made by the combination of these two patterns should be an attractive and informative notion.
Holding 18 pre-conferences in various universities throughout the country that are located along the Silk Road and providing  more than 10 workshops for law teachers, law students, police officers, prosecutors, judges, and members of the Dispute Resolution Council showed that the familiarity of the administrators  of the criminal justice institutions with the concept and application of restorative justice in the realm of their activity has had a significant impact on the nature of the criminal justice system and the transition from retribution to restoration. Asian countries have a noticeable experience in this field. In addition to social control and other cultural factors, the emphasis of the criminal justice system on implementing restorative responses has resulted in a reduced number of reported crimes. Criminals who admit guilt and own up to their wrongdoings and take their responsibility for their actions and behaviors as well as aim to repair the harm they inflicted, face more lenient sentencing.
Once again, I am pleased and honored to have the chance to be among more than 20 of the most respected scholars from various Asian, European, and North American countries at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran to share their experiences, and points of views.
Finally, I must express my sincere gratitude to Professor John Braithwaite who generously and without any expectation provided his kind assistance assisted throughout both conferences. Moreover, I must appreciate Professor Denis Woung and members of Asia and Pacific association which supported the Center for Legal Studies at Tarbiat Modares University in organizing this conference.
Mohammad Farajiha, Ph.D
Associate Professor
Head, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology
Faculty of Law, Tarbiat Modares University
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دومین همایش دوسالانه بین المللی عدالت ترمیمی 2nd Biannual International Conference on Restorative Justice
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