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 the defence is used to protect innocent individuals who commit murder in the moment of an emotional trauma when witnessing an incident of infidelity? This legal opinion will interrogate the reality behind the ulterior motives of honour killings.

It is erroneous to assume that the defence of honour emerges alone upon the witnessing of the “wife naked in bed with another man” or other more apparent prima facie evidence. Instead, the statistics above show that the honour defence is abused by murderers with ulterior motives. ‘Honour Crimes’ are also being “commercialized”, committed in an effort by families to:

  1. Retain property rights;
  2. Gain compensation from the individual accused;
  3. Settle a personal vendetta; to prevent women from claiming inheritancerights;
  4. Hide the exposure of incest.

It has even been reported that in Jacobabad, Pakistan, a man killed his wife after he had dreamed of her having an ‘illicit’ relationship.

To read more, click here: Honour Killings – Myths and Motives

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