What is the difference between justice and vengeance? Society goes round in circles trying to distinguish the two because both justice and vengeance presume a human — and therefore artificial or contrived — solution to an offense. And to be “offended” is very human.
Justice is defined as conformity to the good in light of an offense to the good. But vengeance is punishment in retaliation for an offense. So if justice is not to become the same as vengeance, it cannot punish. This has enormous impact on the way society has structured itself for law, crime, punishment, rehabilitation, and, of course, war and ethics.