Academic Analyses


Honour Killings – Myths and Motives

This legal opinion has been written to shed light on the motives behind honour killings that have been reported in the Middle East and South Asia. The opinion is written for lawyers and activists so that they may use the arguments contained herein, to debunk popular myths of how and why honour killings occur. The question of how and why honour killings occur is important because we can then analyse what the honour defence provision under the Penal Code protects; and who or in what circumstances. For instance, is it true that in reality … [Read More...]


Legal Framework for Evidence in Rape

This legal framework was developed after a preliminary review of rape cases brought before international courts and tribunals, as well as, courts in South-Asia. The selection of issues was based on what typically arise in court cases on rape and sexual assault and their impact on women as complainants and defendants. In this guide, we reiterate arguments that have been successfully used by human rights lawyers on controversial legal questions. We have made this framework a practical tool of reference by offering suggestions for case strategy in … [Read More...]


Honour Defence Mitigation from Criminal Jurisprudence Perspectives

Why honour killings fall short of standards required in criminal law Mitigation is a small element in the judicial toolkit acknowledging the frailties of human nature. While intent (mens rea) bears criminal liability, the law adopts a softer view on impulsive reactions. But this is not a boundless discretion bestowed upon courts. Honour killings are tantamount to encouraging summary executions by private individuals based on communal and/or personal affronts. The defence of Provocation is different. An essential ingredient of … [Read More...]

Article 26: Prohibitive Questioning of Family Witnesses

Earlier this month, Article 26 of Afghanistan’s draft criminal procedure code, dealing with the testimony of relatives as witnesses to a crime, was approved by Parliament and sent to the President for his signature. The provision titled “Prohibition of Questioning an Individual as a Witness” is currently reflected in a bill written in Dari, the official Persian used in Afghanistan. Translated into English, Article 26 of the draft stipulates that certain people cannot be questioned as witnesses and includes relatives of the accused. Apart … [Read More...]

Legal Arguments for Divorce due to Harm in Afghanistan

Within Afghanistan's Islamic family law, the right (of the husband) to discipline and the right (of the wife) to dignity and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment coexists, albeit on parallel planes. But certainty is expedient to the determination of whether the use or abuse of a husband's right results in criminal and/or civil consequences. Not all injuries may immediately qualify for a judicial divorce. Courts may dismiss some cases, order mediation in others, or execute a divorce with varying civil consequences relating to mahr, … [Read More...]