Seminar 'Restorative justice responses to environmental harm and ecocide'

The restorative justice perspective is driven essentially by the principles of participation, harm reparation and healing, which are principles that must be central in conceiving environmental justice. Whereas communities, activists, scholars, and scientists have rightly focused most of their energies into developing laws and policy making that identify, recognize, regulate, condemn or punish actors of ecocide, corporations or other authors that perpetuate environmental crime and harms, many are slowly recognizing the value and potential of restorative responses to these problems, especially the alignment of a restorative philosophy that is embedded in indigenous justice and environmental justice. The restorative justice movement has likewise been slow in diverting its attention to the environmental field, but the links and potentials are now evident as testified by several publications and by concrete cases.

Despite its potential, environmental harm also raises several challenges to restorative justice, which are worth exploring. Who are the victims of environmental harm, how are their rights ensured and how can they have a voice in restorative processes? Who speaks on behalf of future or past generations and nature (animals, plants, rivers, land, climate)? What kind of expertise is required to adequately speak for the non-human? What are the criteria by which judgements around harm or victimisation are to be made? What are the criteria by which judgements around repair and restoration are to be made? How can we repair the irreparable? How can we assess who the perpetrators are and how can we ensure they participate in restorative processes?

This seminar is unique in trying to bring together scholars, activists and practitioners to dwell in depth into this intersection, creating a path for future research, commitments and engagements. Among our participants, we are especially honoured to have with us John Braithwaite, whose work in restorative justice has always been both foundational and pioneering. John and his team in Australia are among the first to have engaged in cases of restorative environmental justice. Other speakers include Claudia Mazzucato (Italy), Carolin Hillemanns (Germany), Femke Wijdekop, Anneke van Hoek and Bas van Stokkom (Netherlands), Maria Lucia Correia (Portugal), Ivo Aertsen and Katrien Lauwaert (Belgium).

Scholars either working or willing to explore this intersection with us are invited to the seminar, where sufficient time has been allocated to discussions and exchanges. We envision about 30 participants for the seminar. For questions please contact


10.00-10.20 Welcome and introduction, by Ivo Aertsen and Brunilda Pali, Leuven Institute of Criminology

10.20-11.00 Restorative responses to environmental harm: Restorative innovation by Victoria’s Environmental Protection Authority, by John Braithwaite, School of Regulation and Global Governance, Canberra

11.00-11.30 Questions and discussion

11.30-12.00 Restorative approaches to environmental conflicts: Can practices from Australia and New Zealand be adapted to the Dutch context? by Femke Wijdekop, Environmental Justice IUCN NL, and Anneke van Hoek, Restorative Justice Nederland 

12.00-12.30 The potential of restorative justice in addressing environmental crimes: Reflections from Germany, by Carolin Hillemanns, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg

12.30-13.00 Questions and discussion

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.30 Victims of environmental harm and corporations: Reflections from an international research project, by Claudia Mazzucato, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

14.30-15.00 Environmental crime: From victims’ needs to restorative responses, by Katrien Lauwaert, Moderator Forum for Restorative Justice and Mediation

15.00-15.30 Voice of nature: An artistic quest for restorative interventions, by Maria Lucia Cruz Correia, artist/environmental researcher

15.30-16.00 Questions and discussion

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

16.30-17.00 Corporate behavior and responsive regulation: Lessons for environmental justice, by Bas van Stokkom, Radboud University, Nijmegen

17.00-17.30 Re-shaping restorative justice to environmental crime

by Ivo Aertsen, Leuven Institute of Criminology

17.30-18.30 Roundtable discussion with all participants

19.30 Dinner

Scientific Coordinator
Prof. dr. Ivo Aertsen
Contact details
Stijn Vivijs

016 32 53 05


Registration fee
free activity
Location, dates, directions
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