Criminal Law

Criminal law

The term ‘crime’ denotes an unlawful act and this unlawful act is Punishable by a state. Crime as a concept is so broad that there is no single, Universally accepted definition to it. The common principle about Criminal law is that, unless an activity is prohibited by law, it does not qualify as a crime.

Incidents of Crime hurt not only the individual but also the state. Therefore, such acts are forbidden and punishable by law. The body of laws that deals with imposing punishments on crimes is known as Criminal law.

  • Objectives of Criminal law

Five objectives are widely accepted for enforcement of the criminal law by Punishments of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and restoration.

  1. Retribution-(Eye to Eye, Teeth to Teeth)It depends on the concept of tit for tat. Criminals ought to be punished in some way. This is the most widely seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage, or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and consequently, the criminal law will put criminals act at some unpleasant disadvantage to ” balance the scale”
  2. Deterrence- Individual deterrence is aimed towards the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior. General deterrence aims at society.
  3. Incapacitation- Designed simply to keep criminals away from society to protect the public from their misconduct. This is often achieved through prison sentences today. The death penalty or banishment has served the same purpose.
  4. Rehabilitation- Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society. Its primary goal is to prevent further offense by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong.
  5. Restoration- This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment. The goal is to repair, through state authority, any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender. For example, one who embezzles will be required to repay the amount improperly acquired. Restoration is commonly combined with other main goals of criminal justice and is closely related to concepts in civil law i.e., returning the victim to his or her original position before the injury.


Criminal law generally prohibits undesirable acts. Thus, proof of a crime requires proof of some act. Scholars label this the requirement of an Actus reus(guilty act) or Men’s rea (guilty mind). Judges have concluded that the elements must be present at precisely the same moment and it is not enough that they occurred sequentially at different times.

Criminal law jurisdictions

Public International Law deals extensively and increasingly with criminal conduct that is heinous and ghastly enough to affect entire societies and regions. The formative source of modern international criminal law was the Nuremberg trials following the Second World War in which the leaders of Nazism were prosecuted for their part in genocide and atrocities across Europe. In 1998 an International Criminal Court was established in the Rome Statute.

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