Ultima Ratio, Is the Principle at Risk?: Editors’ Introduction

Authors

  • Joxerramon Bengoetxea Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea - Universidad del País Vasco
  • Heike Jung Saarland University
  • Kimmo Nuotio University of Helsinki

Keywords:

Ultima Ratio, European Criminal Law, minimal intervention, decriminalisation, criminalisation, criminal sanctions, proportionality of criminal sanctions, abuse of punishment, Ultima ratio, derecho penal europeo, intervención mímica, despenalización

Abstract

Ultima ratio as a normative principle, or a constellation of principles, would be a hermeneutic pre-understanding or pre-interpretative concept to the effect that the definition of a certain socially relevant conduct as a crime and the consequent infliction of a penal sanction on the perpetrator of such conduct is a serious matter to be handled with caution and not to be abused. Similarly, the emergence of new definitions of "European" crimes is a matter of concern. The risk referred to in the rhetoric question of the Workshop “Is the ultima ratio principle at risk?” lies in the non-observance of the principle of minimal intervention, the tendency to criminalise and to bring all or any socially – even politically – undesirable actions under the criminal law, and to use the criminal definition and sanction for purposes and situations other than the strictly necessary – principle of necessity – and universally shared – principle of deep social consensus.

Ultima ratio como un principio normativo, o una constelación de principios, sería un concepto heurístico, una comprensión o pre-interpretación hermenéutica, a fin de que la definición como “delito” de determinada conducta socialmente relevante, y la consecuente imposición de una sanción penal al causante de dicha conducta es un asunto serio que debe tratarse con cautela, y del que no se debiera abusar. El “riesgo” mencionado en la pregunta retórica del seminario “¿Está el principio de ultima ratio en riesgo?” se encuentra en la falta de observación del principio de intervención mínima del derecho penal, en la tendencia a criminalizar y a reconducir las acciones socialmente, incluso políticamente, indeseables bajo el derecho penal, y a abusar de la definición penal o tipificación y de la sanción penal cubriendo finalidades y situaciones diferentes de las estrictamente necesarias, principio de necesidad, y de las universalmente compartidas, principio de consenso social profundo.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2213166

Author Biography

Joxerramon Bengoetxea, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea - Universidad del País Vasco

Ph.D. In Law, University of Edinburgh; Profesor titular of Jurisprudence, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Director of EHUgune. Coordinator for the UPV/EHU of the Oñati International Master in Sociology of Law and the Ph D Program in Sociology of Law. Member of the Academic Board of the Renato Treves International Ph D in Law and Society. UPV / EHU. Zuzenbide Fakultatea; Manuel de Lardizabal, 2; E-20018 Donostia–San Sebastián. joxerramon.bengoetxea@ehu.es

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Published

07-01-2013

How to Cite

Bengoetxea, J., Jung, H. and Nuotio, K. (2013) “Ultima Ratio, Is the Principle at Risk?: Editors’ Introduction”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 3(1), pp. 1–5. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/259 (Accessed: 28 June 2022).