“Responses of justice to urban violence” were at the centre of the 31st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Justice, which took place on 19-21 September 2012 in Vienna, Austria. In the light of the unrest and riots that have taken place in the last few years in several European cities such as London, Madrid, Athens, Paris, Copenhagen, and Moscow, the 47 European Ministers and representatives of Ministers discussed the contribution that law and justice could provide to the prevention of urban violence. Considering that youths are at the centre of this complex phenomenon, and that technologies have made urban violence less predictable than in the past, the conference discussed in particular “Juveniles as perpetrators and victims” and “Organised groups and their new ways of communicating”.
The European Forum was invited to provide food for thought for the discussion on organised groups and new information technologies, and to present its EU Reco Street Violence project. While pointing out to new problems linked to the use of new information and communication technologies, Efus stressed that, as the examples of youth gangs but also riots and spontaneous gatherings have shown, technologies are not a fundamental game changer. Though new technologies have to be taken into account in terms of new threats as well as new tools, the core problems of street violence continue to require a holistic, knowledge-based, multi-agency approach anchored at the local level and based on citizen participation.
EU Ministers agreed that urban violence requires a swift reply by the justice system, but also that the justice system alone cannot solve the underlying causes and that preventive measures are also required in order to provide youth with a perspective. In their final resolution the Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening justice systems appropriate for juveniles and to develop restorative justice measures.
Please find more information on the conference and the full resolution on the website of the conference.