The article deals with three main ideas. (1) The philosophical roots of punishment in modern criminal law are the same in countries that very much differ among each other as far as the level of severity of their systems is concerned. It is therefore something else than just philosophical roots that have an impact on criminal and penal policy of a country. Those other possible elements are then discussed. (2) The philosophical roots of punishment in modern criminal law often refer to the Hammurabi rule: “eye for an eye”, and are read as a justification for severe punishment. The article questions this assumption and proposes an interpretation which seems to be much closer to Hammurabi’s original idea. (3) Countries with differences in criminal and penal policy might introduce equally wrong laws abridging the core human rights when they resort to dehumanization practices and moral disengagement. It is especially possible when fear of foreign cultures and terrorism prevails. An example of such legislation, an aviation law in German and Poland, is discussed.
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