Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht

Article

Ideologische vertekeningen binnen straf- en herstelrecht

Oorsprongsverhalen en de dwaling van zelfbeschadiging

Trefwoorden Oorsprongsverhalen, Zelfbeschadiging, Chaos, Harmonie
Auteurs Vincent Geeraets
Auteursinformatie

288556 Vincent Geeraets
Vincent Geeraets is docent rechtstheorie aan de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, VU Amsterdam.
  • Samenvatting

      Adherents to restorative justice are to be commended for systematically questioning whether the manner in which criminal law is currently organised is a good thing. The debate about criminal justice and restorative justice is therefore an important one. It is also a debate which is occasionally marred by a reliance on ideology. In this article, a number of ideological claims are identified and discussed. First, both adherents to criminal law and supporters of restorative justice invoke an ‘origin story’ to defend their view. The origin story of criminal law consists of the idea that without criminal law the world would be a chaos, i.e. the world would resemble the state of nature as depicted by Hobbes. In contrast: the origin story of restorative justice revolves around the idea that without central authority people tend to resolve their conflicts harmoniously. I argue that neither types of origin story can withstand scrutiny. Secondly, in both the context of criminal law (e.g. Antony Duff) and restorative justice (e.g. Jacques Claessen), it is claimed that an individual by violating the rules harms himself as a person. The point of punishment (criminal justice) respectively reparation (restorative justice) therefore is to enable the offender to restore himself and to once again take up his role of citizen. I argue that the claim of self-harm may be based on a primitive worldview. Moreover, I show that this claim can be used to describe criminal law respectively restorative justice in terms that are too harmonious. In this way we lose sight of the coercion and violence that is involved in both contexts.

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