The crumbling narrative of modern European criminal justice

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-6442-1
Title: The crumbling narrative of modern European criminal justice
Author: Koivukari, Kristiina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Doctoral Programme in Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020-09-16
Language: en
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-6442-1
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318326
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This dissertation discusses the narrative of modern European criminal justice: does the narrative exist, what it tells about criminal justice, and what it ignores and effaces? To start with, the study seeks an answer to the question of why it is so difficult to combine EU law and criminal law so that the central characteristics of both could be embraced. From the perspective of criminal justice, the often suggested answer to the question is that the fundamental criminal law principles together with EU law and its principles could form an appropriate basis for the combination, but the EU seems reluctant to truly commit itself to criminal law principles and it seems the EU does not recognise the delicacy and integrity of criminal law. My hypothesis is instead that the central problem lies in the question itself, which presumes a certain kind of criminal law and EU law. Therefore, instead of straightforwardly trying to answer the question presuming and accepting the special nature of criminal justice and the EU’s reluctance to respect it, I critically analyse the elements assumed to be the essential parts of the concept of criminal justice forming the narrative of modern European criminal justice and the EU’s role and approach to criminal law. As discussions on these questions suggest that Enlightenment thinking constitutes the value basis for a common understanding of European criminal justice as well as EU criminal law principles, I also examine the narrative of the Enlightenment within criminal justice and the values and principles therein suggested to form the basis of criminal justice in both Europe and the EU. The different elements assumed to be the essential parts of criminal justice indeed prove to be ambiguous and blurred. Further, examining the reasons for the EU to legislate in criminal law matters, its competence and political limits indicate that it might not be (at least merely) a choice of the Union not to respect the criminal law principles but a consequence of its limited competence and political leeway as well as its interdependent position and way of functioning. In terms of values and principles, Enlightenment ideology does indeed seem to be the value basis for the narrative of modern European criminal justice. But the values, and their meaning and role as understood within criminal justice narrative, should be questioned instead of taken for granted, and indeed they are being questioned along with the narrative of modern European criminal justice itself. I argue that the Enlightenment values and principles as depicted by narrative on criminal justice presume a system structure, and the EU cannot form a system of its own. On the other hand, the EU inevitably deconstructs the systemic features of domestic criminal justice ‘systems’ by interfering with them in multiple ways and by eroding any possibilities of maintaining the narrative of the criminal justice system even in the domestic sphere. The EU (alone) does not cause this deconstruction of system structure(s), but intensifies it and makes the issue more evident and visible. While the concept or narrative of the modern criminal justice system is necessary to understand systemically, this systemic understanding is not realistic in the first place in the current undeniably inter-legal world of law. Hence the systemic narrative on modern European criminal justice crumbles and is challenged by multiple, more fragmented and interactional narratives on (criminal) law. This study is conducted by critical analyses of different dimensions of narratives. Narrativity works as a perspective and framework to emphasise that what I discuss in this study is what is told about criminal justice rather than what it is. In other words, narratitivty refers to my starting point of what kind of story we tell about criminal law, but it also refers to the possibility of other narratives as well. In turn, I use systemic and interactional approaches as lenses through which I explain the narrative told of modern European criminal justice (resembling more a systemic legal order) and the alternative narrative(s) which from my point of view would be more realistic in the inter-legal world (legal orders understood interactionally to some extent). Further, I claim that the narratives we tell affect the way law is used in practice, and in that sense is in no way innocent or irrelevant. I apply these theories or perspectives to each chapter and concept of the study separately, but the different parts of the study read as a whole expose the narrative of systemically understood criminal justice as on the one hand existing and on the other hand crumbling. This further questions the current construction of legitimacy as a residual justification of morally and philosophically unjustifiable punishment built on the systemic understanding of criminal justice. As that alleged legitimacy crumbles along with the narrative of criminal justice, it exposes the unjustifiability of punishment. The question then is whether it is possible to combine criminal law fluently with any other legal area, or whether it is even possible for it to be a part of legal or judicial systems at all.Väitöskirja tarkastelee sitä, millaisena moderni eurooppalainen rikosoikeus ymmärretään oikeustieteellisessä keskustelussa: onko yhtenäistä narratiivia löydettävissä, mitä se kertoo rikosoikeudesta ja toisaalta mitä se jättää huomioimatta ja sivuuttaa. Kysymyksiä lähestytään tutkimalla kriittisesti oletuksia tai väitteitä, joiden mukaan EU-oikeus ja rikosoikeus ovat hankalasti yhteen sovitettavissa ja EU-lainsäätäjä ei riittävällä tavalla huomioi rikosoikeuden erityispiirteitä. Kriittisesti tarkasteltaessa rikosoikeuden keskeiset elementit osoittautuvat epäselviksi ja epävarmoiksi. Toisaalta se, että EU-lainsäädäntö ei usein ole perinteisten rikosoikeuden periaatteiden ja oppien mukaista, johtuu suurelta osin EU:n toimivallan rakenteesta ja luonteesta eikä niinkään EU:n haluttomuudesta sitoutua rikosoikeuden periaatteisiin. Ratkaisuksi vaikeuksiin EU-oikeuden ja rikosoikeuden yhdistämisessä on ehdotettu, että myös EU-lainsäätäjän tulisi sitoutua yhteisiin valistuksen arvoista johdettuihin rikosoikeuden periaatteisiin. Ehdotus on luonteva lähtökohta, koska eri jäsenvaltioiden kansalliset rikosoikeusjärjestelmät ja kertomus modernista eurooppalaisesta rikosoikeudesta perustuvat myös valistuksen ajatteluun ja arvoihin. Väitöskirjassa kuitenkin esitetään, että valistuksen arvot sellaisina kuin ne yleensä käsitetään rikosoikeudessa ja sellaisina kuin ne ilmenevät rikosoikeuden periaatteissa olettavat oikeuden toimivan suhteellisen hierarkisena ja objektiivisena, muusta erillisenä systeeminä. Todellisuudessa rikosoikeutta ei voi erottaa kaikesta muusta erilliseksi oikeusjärjestykseksi, vaan se on jatkuvasti vuorovaikutuksessa muiden normijärjestelmien sekä esim. yhteiskunnallisten ja psykologisten ilmiöiden kanssa. EU:n toimivalta ja sen käyttö rikosoikeuden alalla ja myös esim. perus- ja ihmisoikeuksien jatkuvasti vahvistuva merkitys tuovat tämän vuorovaikutuksen selvemmin esille ja sitä kautta korostavat ristiriitoja rikosoikeuden keskeisissä opeissa ja siinä, mitä rikosoikeuden ymmärretään olevan ja edustavan. Tutkimuksen pääväite on, että modernin eurooppalaisen rikosoikeuden narratiivi valistuksen arvioihin perustuvana systeeminä on murenemassa, mikä edellyttää pohtimaan uudelleen ymmärrystämme rikosoikeudesta ja sen opeista, rikosoikeuden suhteesta muihin oikeudenaloihin, normijärjestelmiin ja ilmiöihin sekä käsitystämme rangaistuksen oikeutuksesta.
Subject: oikeustiede
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