Mediation workshop in Afyon

05 Jul 2009

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UNDP together with the Ministry of Justice organized a three-day “Working Meeting for the Development of a Toolkit on Mediation” on 7-10 July 2009 in Afyon with the participation of distinguished academicians, international consultants, practitioners and representatives of Ministry of Justice who have in-depth knowledge on victim-offender mediation in Turkey.

Through this working meeting, it was aimed to develop a toolkit on mediation for the use of practitioners including the prosecutors, law enforcement officials and mediators in the country.

The meeting started with the presentation of Prof. Dr. Cumhur Şahin, Prof. Dr. Adem Sözüer and Assistant Professor Mustafa Özbek about the content of the toolkit and practitioners’ presentations with regard to the progress about the practice of mediation in respective prosecution offices. Following this, the programme continued with the group work that includes discussions regarding the content and design of the referred toolkit.

The participants were also given the opportunity to gain an overview on the practical application of mediation in other countries, particularly in Canada and Austria. In that respect, two international resource persons, namely Mr. Michael Koenigshofer and Andrejs Berzins contributed to the group discussions by reflecting other country experiences with regard to the practice of mediation in criminal cases. In particular, Mr. Konigshofer who is a senior mediator in Neustart, Austria’s legal institution where all mediation cases are transferred, provided extended knowledge of mediation practice such as the mediation skills, mediation negotiations and various methods of mediation.

The meeting also constituted observation of possible scenarios about pilot mediation practices in other countries such as Canada, Czech Republic through the comprehensive presentation made by Mr. Berzins who also supported the group discussions with its extensive knowledge on mediation as a former chief prosecutor in Canada.

Justice actors who are the main authorities promoting victim-offender mediation practices in their respective courthouses were highly satisfied with the outcomes of the working meeting where important inputs for the project and mediation were generated and practice related challenges were debated extensively. Moreover, the possible responses to these challenges were compromised among the participants and reflected to the first draft of the toolkit on mediation. The final draft will be completed by the end of July by the distinguished Professors and two international consultants and get ready to be publicized in August 2009.