European Journal of Law Reform

Article

The Penal Law of the Foe Revisited

Politically Overcoming Liberalism or Trivially Regressing to State’s Glorification?

Keywords penal law of the foe, normativity, person, imputation, liberalism
Authors Charis Papacharalambous
Author's information

302453 Charis Papacharalambous
Asst. Prof. in Criminal Law, Law Dept., University of Cyprus; PhD in Penal Law and Law Theory (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main).
  • Abstract

      The ‘Penal Law of the Foe’ has already a long history behind it. The present article examines its basic genealogical sources and deals with the quintessence of the critique exerted against it; it is submitted that the wholesale rejection of the concept betrays that a liberal premise as to political constitution of the commons as well as of the nature of criminal system is falsely taken for granted. Crucial instead seem to be the ambiguity of the spiritual heritage of Enlightenment concerning what personhood can imply for the law discourse as well as the normativity inherent in criminal objective imputation within our post-modern condition. It is argued that the very benefit of the concept lies in its implicit political character. This could possibly make it appropriate for a criminal law policy inspired from a democratic republican spirit and aiming at the protection of the most vulnerable, thus tending to strive against the neo-liberal and anti-social erosion of modern societies. This presupposes however that the authoritarian and politically static elements of the concept be clearly displayed as theoretical shortcomings.

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