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Mediation

A juvenile offender’s criminal case may be referred to mediation before or after charges are filed against the juvenile. The prosecutor may refer the case after considering the type of offense, its nature, the circumstances in which it was committed, the offender’s personality, and his or her past conduct. The offender’s plea has never been a legal requirement for the prosecutor’s decision; however, it seems unlikely for the prosecutor to refer a case in which the defendant denies and refuses to accept responsibility, as the probability of success of such mediation would be minimal (Filipcic 2010b). If mediation is deemed successful, which means that the offender comes to and fulfils an agreement made with the victim, the prosecution dismisses the criminal charge.

There are no institutions or agencies specialized in mediation in Slovenia, instead a lay mediator supervises each case. There are currently about 190 specially trained mediators, a quarter of which are mediators qualified to mediate cases involving juvenile offenders (Filipcic 2010b). The mediation agreements may carry different tasks for the juvenile to fulfill, but most often an apology or compensation of damages is sought (see Table 19.9).

Mediation in juvenile cases saw a steep rise after being introduced in 2004 and then plummeted after the financial crisis and budgetary constraints (see

Table 19.9. Tasks determined in mediation agreements, 2011

Tasks

%

Apology

51.7

Compensation of damage

36.7

Restitution

6.7

Community service

3.4

Other

1.6

(Source: Office of the State Prosecutor General)

Table 19.10. The number of juvenile cases referred to mediation and success rate, 2004-2014

Referred cases

Year

Number

% of all cases

Success rate (%)

2004

344

1.16

68

2005

225

6.46

62

2006

191

5.54

63

2007

194

5.95

69

2008

155

4.92

70

2009

100

3.15

61

2010

155

4.72

76

2011

88

2.80

67

2012

52

1.71

52

2013

17

0.58

94

2014

7

0.26

43

(Source: Office of the State Prosecutor General)

Table 19.10). It is now almost never used, despite its rather successful use in the past years. When asked for reasons prosecutors explain they are mainly budgetary in nature. Costs for mediation (mediator, processing, etc.) were previously covered by the general budget allotted to the prosecution. Since the austerity measures were put in place in 2011 and formalized in 2012, the prosecution has had to minimize its expenses, and mediation has been one of the “victims” of savings: money is being spent on salaries and indispensable goods, and cannot be used for other purposes.

 
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