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The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment$
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Alejandro Chehtman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603404.001.0001

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An Interest-Based Justification for the Right to Punish

An Interest-Based Justification for the Right to Punish

(p.30) 2 An Interest-Based Justification for the Right to Punish
The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment

Alejandro Chehtman

Oxford University Press

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

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