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Can Criminal Law Really Contribute to the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity?

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: 2009 Pages: 2-25
Eugenio Raul Zaffaroni
Date Published
24 pages
This paper examines the prevention of crimes against humanity.
States' mass crimes have such a huge unlawful content that they seriously limit the juridical power of containment of criminal law. The unpunished mass criminal is in practice subject to a Friedlossigkeit or loss of peace, he is excluded from the juridical community, and any damage caused to him is practically unpunished, because criminal law is incapable of condemning the person who executes it. International efforts to submit the criminal to a process are legitimated because they redeem him/her from the status of hostis, ratifying that for the law he/she continues being a person, in spite of the terrible magnitude of the committed crime. This is the maximum contribution and the legitimation of international criminal law: it would avoid a degrading act of barbarism for the mass crime victims themselves, and would avoid falling within the enemy's criminal law; moreover, it would just be the opposite by avoiding the return to the hostis, which is the 'de facto' situation in which the unpunished mass criminal is. But international punitive power does not prevent state mass homicides, the true prevention of mass homicides that criminological knowledge can provide shall be through the exercise of criticism and the frontal rejection of the values neutralization techniques, finely prepared by theorists, and roughly by public or media inducement to revenge. References (Published Abstract)