International Symposium on Restorative Justice and Peace in Colombia

In 2005, the Alvaralice Foundation convened in Cali the International Symposium for Restorative Justice and Peace in Colombia, featuring Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu as keynote speaker, and more than 1,600 attendees.

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying legal principles or punishing the offender. In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “Restorative Justice is not about retribution or punishment but rather is the healing of breaches, the readdressing of imbalances and the restoration of broken relationships.” Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and repair the harm they have done.

Restorative Justice plays an important role in Colombia, as the country has endured a low intensity conflict that has escalated since the 1980’s. To this effect, and as one of the results of the symposium, the Colombian Congress enacted a new penal code that includes restorative justice principles. Today, peace is a priority to Colombia and its citizens, and this is why the concept of Restorative Justice is making great strides in being recognized as a new peacebuilding tool.



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