Terrorism, forgiveness and restorative justice

A. Pemberton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper is intended to enhance understanding of the complexities of restorative justice in cases of terrorism from a victimological perspective. It does so first by analysing what separates terrorism from other forms of crime. The author argues that the main distinction concerns the peculiarly public nature of terrorism, in which the attack on the direct victims is intended to influence a (far) larger group of so-called vicarious victims. This means that the public is likely to experience terrorist attacks as attacks on themselves. As a consequence the public can feel entitled to processes of forgiveness which in turn can conflict with the direct victims’ own experience. To illuminate this issue the paper proposes a novel distinction in third party forgiveness processes: between public forgiveness, i.e. forgiveness relating to the public wrongfulness inherent in crime, and vicarious forgiveness, i.e. the public’s experience of forgiveness itself. The complexities for restorative justice after terrorism can be then be viewed in terms of the tensions between the direct victims’ private and the publics’ vicarious forgiveness processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-389
Number of pages21
JournalOnati Socio Legal Series
Volume4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Criminology, Terrorism, restorative justice, victimology, forgiveness, criminal justice

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