Jan Klabbers

Doing Justice? Bureaucracy, the Rule of Law and Virtue Ethics

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Rule of Law; Virtues; Empathy; Genocide Denial; Human Rights.

This paper discusses the connections between the Rule of Law and virtue ethics, and in particular the virtue of empathy. It does so with the help of the 2013 and 2015 decisions the European Court of Human Rights issued in the "Perinçek" case. In these decisions, the Court came dangerously close to genocide denial, displaying what can only be deemed a serious lack of empathy and therewith suggesting the risk of the administration of law lapsing into bureaucracy. The article first sketches the risk of bureaucratization; thereafter it discusses how the virtues can be connected to the law. The subsequent sections are devoted to an analysis of the "Perinçek" decisions, followed by a discussion of how empathy on the part of the Court could have made a difference, and could have prevented the Court from engaging in genocide denial.

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