‘Not a violation, because it works’ – A dangerous line of reasoning in Colon v. the Netherlands (adm.)

Can efficiency for the realization of a public good justify a rights-restrictive measure? Of course not. Human rights protect not only from governments or individuals with bad intentions, they also foreclose certain courses of action for the well-intended.  That torture works to elicit confessions, is an argument often made by  those who practice it, yet which the human rights community has rightly set aside as irrelevant . That the death penalty works against recidivism is clear yet also irrelevant. This is not because the goals –respectively making suspects confess to any crimes they may have committed  and preventing recidivism – are not considered very important, but because these goals can and therefore must be pursued through other means.

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