'Between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, between the strong and the weak, it is freedom that oppresses, and the law that sets free.'
(52e Conférence de Notre-Dame, 1848)
So said Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, a French ecclesiastic, preacher, journalist and political activist who re-established the Dominican Order in post-Revolutionary France, in 1848.
And he was right. The purpose of law in a free and democratic society is to liberate, not to restrain. It is to create a safe and just environment in which human conduct is regulated and power is constrained so that maximum freedom and safety is attained by all.
In our eagerness to promote the Rule of Law, we often confuse three competing visions of it. One is institutional, one procedural, and one substantive."
A statement by Louise Arbour, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group, on the occasion of the High-level Meeting of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law