Trading truth for justice?

Res Publica 16 (2):153-167 (2010)
In this article I pursue two aims. First I advance an internal critique of hard-core retribution as it is usually advanced by victims of human rights violations. The focus of this penal approach on submitting all the military personnel guilty of human rights violations to harsh punishments risks jeopardizing the (clearly retributive) demand of punishing all those involved in the abuses. Particularly when extensive time has elapsed after the misdeeds, the most rational policy seems to be a negotiation model that offers gross human rights abusers punishment reductions in exchange for valuable information about the facts. Defending such a penal negotiation model constitutes the second aim of this article. I conclude that in order to satisfy the (hard-core) retributive demand of punishing all those (both military and civilian) guilty of human rights abuses, it is required not to submit all military personal indicted to retributive punishments.
Keywords Classical retribution  Human rights abuses  Time passage  Trading truth for justice
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-010-9114-2
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