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Criminal Justice, Legality and Human Dignity.

Claes, Erik
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) In Erik Claes, René Foqué, and Tony Peters, eds., Punishment, Restorative Justice and the Morality of Law. Antwerp; Oxford: Intersentia. Pp. 15-56.

I would like to step into the current discussion concerning restorative justice and its relation to the traditional criminal justice system, by articulating a modest and at the same time somewhat hybrid position. The position is a hybrid one because on the one hand, it sees criminal justice through the eyes of the legal practitioner, by trying to understand the meaningfulness of his adherence to the rule of law. The ambition developed in this paper consists of exploring the full potential of a criminal justice system ruled by law, and particularly, the ethical credentials of such a system. On the other hand, it takes interest in the point of view of many criminologists. I would like, indeed, to observe the criminal justice system, feeling and exploring its limits from the perspective of both the victim and offender. Behind this somewhat ambiguous line of approach lies the conviction that a more refined insight into the vitality, and also into the inevitable vulnerability of the rule of law might help prepare the way for a well-considered debate regarding the future, if any, of restorative justice. (excerpt)


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