Article For Common Language of Justice

Common Language of Justice


Article: "For a common language of justice: translating words into deeds"

Author: Slawomir Redo

This article has been posted with friendly permission by the publisher. It will appear in hard-copy in: Aktualne Problemy Prawa Karnego i Kryminologii, Wydawnictwo Temida 2, Białystok, Poland 2008 (Prof. Emil Pływaczewski, Editor).

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations Secretariat.

About the article

In 2004, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his landmark report to he Security Council, wrote that in articulating a common language of justice “concepts such as justice, the rule of law, and transitional justice are essential to understanding the international community’s efforts to enhance human rights, protect persons from fear and want, address property disputes, encourage economic development, promote accountable governance and peacefully resolve conflict. They serve both to define our goals and to determine our methods. Yet, there is a multiplicity of definitions and understandings of such concepts, even among our closest partners in the field. At an operational level, there is, for some, a fair amount of overlap with other related concepts, such as security sector reform, judicial sector reform and governance reform. To work together effectively in his field, a common understanding of key concepts is essential”.

Drawing on this metaphoric notion of a “common language of justice”, the purpose of his interdisciplinary article is threefold.

1. First, it seeks to contribute to a better common understanding of justice, more precisely criminal justice, by taking initial stock of and interpreting the approaches and instruments applied by the United Nations in facilitating and/or creating the conditions for pursuing in practice the “language” that the report of the Secretary-General postulates (section I).

2. Second, the article discusses (section II) the various underpinnings of a common language of justice.

3. Third, the article goes beyond current outcomes and addresses common language issues that are emerging globally and that will contribute to a more conceptually harmonized justice in a world comprising different legal philosophies and systems (sections III and IV).

Read the full article: Redo-CommonLanguageJustice.pdf

About the author

Slawomir Redo

Ph.D. in Law; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Division for Operations, Vienna, Austria.

Author of three books, co-editor of three books, including For the Rule of Law. Criminal Justice Teaching and Training @cross the World, European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), Korean Institute of Criminal Justice Policy (KICJP), Helsinki-Seoul, 2008. Published about 45 articles on various crime prevention and criminal justice issues, mostly from the area of the “United Nations studies”, including its treaty and customary law, i.e. on the conduct of law enforcement and prison officials; independence of the judiciary, the right to defence, crime prevention, computerization of criminal justice, computer crime, transnational organized crime. In 1999-2002 he served as a Senior Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Expert in the Regional UNODC Office for Central Asia (Tashkent, Uzbekistan).