An Interest-Based Justification for the Right to Punish

Alejandro Chehtman

in The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199603404
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725173 | DOI:
An Interest-Based Justification for the Right to Punish

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This chapter presents a justification for the power to punish which is based on the interest of individuals in a given state in there being a system of rules prohibiting murder, rape, and so on, in force. This argument rests on a jurisprudential point about the existence of a legal system, and on a normative point about the way in which criminal law systems can contribute to the well-being of individuals living under them. Moreover, it arguably has two important advantages over most of its prominent rivals available in the literature. First, it allows us to account for the fact that the right to punish is a Hohfeldian power, and not simply a liberty to inflict suffering upon the offender. Secondly, it can accommodate the fact that both states and international criminal tribunals claim the power to punish an innocent individual (by mistake), while at the same time retaining the core intuition that it would be wrong (i.e., impermissible) for them to do so.

Keywords: powers; liberties; right to punish; retribution; deterrence; dignity; security; Hohfeldian analysis; interests

Chapter.  14001 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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