In an ideal world there would be one version of justice. The laws that are written would protect everyone and the government would stand for the people and protect the people from those who wish to harm them by breaking the law.
It would be really simple and we would be able to trust those in power.
However in reality the law does not protect all and justice is not as black and white as society would like to believe. This is especially true in One Piece.
In One Piece it comes down to two sides, those who uphold absolute justice and those who believe in moral justice.
Let’s look first at absolute justice. Sakazuki, Akainu, firmly believes in absolute justice. He does not waver and he does not doubt. He believes in it so much so he is ruthless in his endeavours to uphold it, as seen in the Ohara incident where he sanctioned killing innocent people just in case an archaeologist had stowed away. He follows the law to the letter and does not believe in having mercy for ‘criminals’.
If the law was good then Sakazuki would not be problematic but the reality of the One Piece world is that the law is corrupt and Sakazuki is upholding a corrupt system. The system in place does not benefit the people but rather the rich and the powerful and those who seek to oppress the weak.
Just think the Celestial Dragons are protected by the law when they own slaves. Everything they do violates human rights in any universe and yet in the laws eyes they are right and they are to be protected. The laws of the One Piece universe do not benefit the people but the Celestial Dragons.
We cannot say that Sakazuki is ignorant of the corruption either. He’s been made aware of it by characters like Fujitora and yet he still believes in the law and doesn’t see the need to correct the corrupt parts.
Other characters who uphold absolute justice who are not as extreme as Sakazuki would be Sengoku and Aokiji. You may disagree but Sengoku has never gone against the marines and he has never stood against their corrupt ideals. Also it was because of him that the whole Marineford incident happened. And Aokiji, Kuzan, also did not question the orders that he got from the higher ups until he was confronted with the idea of being under Sakazuki’s rule as Fleet Admiral. If it was not for his fight with Sakazuki he would have been exactly like Sengoku.
Then what about moral justice?
Those who believe in moral justice are characters that have seen the corrupt side of the marines and are against it. They still believe in upholding the law. They still believe that stealing and murder and all that, that pirates do do is wrong. However they also see that the marines are not innocent, that the marines are just as bad as the pirates if not worse in some cases.
The first character seen to have the ideals of moral justice was Koby. Probably because he experienced first-hand the damage a corrupt marine, Axe Hand Morgan, could do.
Also he was willing to stand against Sakazuki in order to end the war and to save lives. That was a very brave thing to do (as Sakazuki would not hesitate to kill him) and it could have cost him his career as a marine. But he cared more about the people than the law that was causing more damage than good.
Another character would be Smoker. He is devoted to doing the right thing and being a good naval officer. He is not an ally to pirates. But he does not believe in upholding and enforcing corrupt laws. If he sees the marines doing something wrong he is the first person to call them out on it.
Fujitora is another character who did not hesitate to call out the marines on their corruption. They allowed the people of Dressrosa to suffer under Doflamingo because he was a shichibukai. The shichibukai, pirates who were given power by the law, carried out many of the atrocious acts in One Piece and yet the marines never stopped them. Fujitora is disgusted in this system and does not hide this fact much to the dismay of Sakazuki. He even goes as far as to apologise to the people of Dressrosa causing him to be banned from going back to base.
So then what is right? Which of the two versions is the right version?
Personally I believe in moral justice. There are going to be times where the law is wrong or those in positions of power are going to use their power for corruption. In times like that society needs people like Fujitora, Koby or Smoker. We need people like that to check those in power as only they can.
Yes, the Strawhats have been going against people like Sakazuki from the beginning but at the end of the day the Strawhats are pirates and not politicians or law makers. If they did not have people like Fujitora or Smoker backing them and fighting for what is right, with the power to enact change, then the world of One Piece would be doomed.