The current trend in criminal jurisdiction is to shift emphasis away from the accused and towards the victims of crime. This reflects a broader trend which is concerned with shaping communal memory and forging political traditions rather than only holding individuals to account. The Adolf Eichmann trial in 1961, Jonathan Rée argues, set a legal precedent in the sense that the trial was foremost concerned with the retribution for the suffering of a people. Returning to Hannah Arendt’s controversial book on the trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem, what are the implications and dangers of the “victim-centred” approach?
freelance writer and member of the Philosophers’ Group of the British Humanist Association. Recently edited (with Jane Chamberlain)