EFRJ Symposium: Get to know our speakers!

The international EFRJ symposium focusing on the newly adopted CoE Recommendation on RJ in criminal justice matters will take place in Bilbao on 5-6 June 2019. Click here to view the full programme and register now!

Get to know our speakers!

DOWNLOAD HERE BIOS & ABSTRACTS or scroll below to “meet” them all:



Plenary I – Restorative justice unlimited?:The application of restorative justice in all the stages of the criminal procedure and for all types of crime

Chair: Tim Chapman – EFRJ Chair, Ulster University, Northern Ireland

The panel will start with presenting the innovative aspects of the new Council of Europe Recommendation on Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters. Ian Marder, Lecturer in Criminology at Maynooth University (Ireland), has studied the implementation of restorative policing, public attitudes towards restorative policing and the impact of sentencing guidelines. In 2017/18, he acted as Scientific Expert for the Council of Europe, with whom he drafted the new Recommendation on restorative justice. Ian will reflect on the move from penal mediation to RJ and present his current work seeking to stimulate the implementation of the Recommendation.

The next presentation will be about the Basque experience of transition from victim-offender-mediation (VOM) services to RJ services in terms of practices, training, policies, protocols. Alberto Olalde is a Lecturer of Social Work at the University of the Basque Country. He has worked as a family mediator and restorative justice facilitator for the Basque Government (2003-2011): most of his experience is as facilitator in restorative encounters in terrorisms and sexual victimization and as trainer and supervisor with practitioners and researchers. Nacho Martínez is the Coordinator of the Service of Restorative Justice of the Basque Government: he will introduce the implementation work of the Service of Restorative Justice and new restorative practices in the intra-judicial sphere, in cooperation and collaboration with legal operators in the Basque Country.

Finally, the session will end with the policy developments in The Netherlands regarding the new law proposal on RJ and its effects at the national level. Theo de Roos, Emeritus Professor in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Tilburg University (The Netherlands) and chair of Restorative Justice Nederland and former judge in the Court of Appeal Den Bosch until May 2018. Theo will present the contents of and debates about the initiative bill for new provisions in the Dutch legislation for a restorative law, as he was one of the authors of this document.


Interactive session I – Prison talks on restorative justice: from practice to reflection

Facilitator: Bart Claes – EFRJ Treasurer, Avans University, The Netherlands

This session will be facilitated by Bart Claes, lecturer on forensic care, restorative justice and prison studies at the Avans University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands) and Treasurer of the EFRJ Board. Bart also worked as a victim-offender mediator in Belgian prisons and juvenile detention centers and for his PhD he did an ethnographic research on RJ practices in a Belgian maximum security prison. Bart will present on his personal experiences and daily life in Belgian prisons, including the different relationships prisons entail (e.g. between prisoners and families, between prisons and neighbourhoods) and the role of RJ in this, as well the links between the RJ philosophy and the prison culture. Participants will then be divided in small discussion groups that will report to the plenary at the end of the session.


Theatre play “La Mirada del otro” and discussion

Facilitator: Gemma Varona – Basque Institute of Criminology, Basque Country

After the theatre play, there will be a moment of sharing with the artists and experts from the field. Ester Pascual Rodríguez, Professor in Law and Criminology, currently directs the degree of criminology at the UFV- Universidad Francisco De Vitoria, combining teaching activity in criminal law and researching on RJ. She trained as a mediator in 2005 and since then she has participated in pioneering experiences of RJ, among them the restorative meetings between victims and former members of Eta in the Basque country. She designed the intervention protocol and put it into operation, demonstrating that dialogue is possible even in the most unexpected situations. She is the author of several publications in this area among which “La Mirada del otro”. Maria San Miguel is the actress and playwright of “La mirada del otro”, a theatre piece based on real restorative encounters between ETA dissidents and the families of their victims. Maria is the founder and director of Proyecto 43-2, an artistic initiative using theatre as a tool for coexistence which aims at actively participating in the new time of ending violence in the Basque Country.



Plenary II – Restorative justice and empowerment: focus on specific target groups

Chair: Brunilda Pali – EFRJ Secretary, KU Leuven, Belgium

This panel will focus on the application of RJ for all types of crimes, especially to those cases that create more resistance and debate. The first presentation will focus on sexual violence cases. Karin Sten Madsen, independent consultant in Denmark, introduced restorative approaches at the Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault in Copenhagen in 2002 and has since been engaged in various projects on developing and appropriating restorative practice for victims of sexual violence. She will focus on how to empower victims of sexual violence on every step through a restorative process.

Next, Bernd Glaeser will talk about the Austrian discussion on victim-offender-mediation (VOM) in cases of intimate partnership violence and good practice recommendations in these cases. He is responsible for VOM and some more services at NEUSTART, the NGO which delivers various probation and mediation services in Austria in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. He has worked with VOM cases himself, many of them cases of intimate partnership violence before shifting into his current management position.

Finally, the plenary will end with the potentials of RJ encounters in cases of political violence and terrorism. Diletta Stendardi took part in the Italian experience told in “The book of the encounter: victims and former armed fighters facing each other” (Il Saggiatore, 2015), which narrates the 7-years long journey of encounters between some ex-members of the armed struggle (Red Brigades and other armed groups) and some victims of the so-called ‘years of lead’ in the 1970-1980s Italy. Diletta is a criminal lawyer in Milan; member of Supervisory Committees appointed by companies to prevent corporate crimes; registered Lecturer and Trainer for the General Direction of Education of the Ministry of Justice; Lecturer in seminars on RJ and on Penitentiary Law at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, where she also works on projects and publications for the development of RJ.


Interactive session II – Access to RJ for young people

Facilitator: Raúl Calvo Soler- University of Girona, Spain

This session will be facilitated by Raúl Calvo Soler, professor at the University of Girona in Law and Criminology Studies, director of the Prevention, Administration and Conflict Resolution Collection of the Gedisa editorial in Barcelona and director of the restorative juvenile justice program of the San Isidro and Pergamino cities in Argentina. Based on his experience, Raúl will focus on the design of restorative strategies with young people in conflict with the criminal law. Much attention will be given to intervention in situations where the conditions are not given to generate restorative spaces. Participants will then be divided in small discussion groups that will report to the plenary at the end of the session.


Plenary III – Restorative justice, prison and probation: risks and opportunities

Chair: Aarne Kinnunen – EFRJ Board, Ministry of Justice, Finland

This panel will focus on the application of RJ in all the stages of the criminal justice procedure. It will start with a presentation on the Basque restorative justice model for the penitentiary system by Jesús Guerrero and Jorge Ollero. Jesús María Guerrero Getxo is a civil servant (psychologist) in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Spanish General Secretary of Penitentiary Institutions (SGIP), developing specific intervention programs since 1996, including restorative justice. Jesús is also a Lecturer in the practice module of the Social Intervention Psychology Post Degree at Deusto University and he is involved as an expert in several EU twinning projects on prison, probation, drugs and organized crime, and terrorism and radicalision. Jorge Ollero is the coordinator of RJ services at Federación Andaluza ENLACE and former Jurist of Penitentiary Institutions in the Spanish Ministry of Interior. He will propose that restorative interventions in prison should be considered under a critical eye, not forgetting the need to reduce the high rates of incarceration present in most European countries.

Ursula Fernee will present the Irish experience on probation, RJ and victims support. Ursula is an Assistant Principal Probation Officer who has worked in a range of operational and developmental roles in the Irish Probation Service. In November 2017, the EU/Directive/2012 was transposed in to Irish Legislation Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017. In 2018, building on a number of existing initiatives, the Probation Service put in place the “Restorative Justice and Victim Services Unit” with Ursula as the national lead. In her presentation, Ursula will look at the development of RJ within the Irish criminal justice system, the integration of RJ in to probation practice, engagement with victims and victim advocacy groups, the current opportunities and challenges and those that lie ahead.

The final presentation will refer to the comprehensive RJ law and practice experience in Belgium, which applies RJ in all type of offences and in any stage of the criminal procedure. Antonio Buonatesta is the director of the Wallonian RJ service Mediante, senior mediator and trainer and the driving force behind the legislation on victim-offender-mediation in Belgium. Antonio will focus on the established cooperation with criminal justice authorities, including prison and probation services. Referring to the newly adapted Council of Europe Recommendation, he will share important lessons interesting for future organisations and countries that are currently working on the implementation of RJ practices in criminal matters.