Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Post the committal of a crime, who deserves 'justice', the victim or the victim's family?

I was outraged Monday morning when I read a news story in The Tribune which said that murder charges against three Punjabi men (and the death sentence previously awarded) had been dropped by a UAE court, as a compromise had been reached between the families of the convicts and the victim's family.

WTF, I thought!

A poor guy was killed by the three men, and just because the victim's family has agreed to accept so-called blood money from the families of the murderers (arranged by some apparently prominent Punjabi in the UAE), is the dropping of murder charges by the Sharjah court even legal, let alone morally justifiable?

I - a patriotic and proud Punjabi myself - strongly believe that they're completely unjustified.

By punishing the killers, who are we trying to give justice to? The victim, of course. It's he who lost his life. It's he who is no longer alive. And just because his family is poor and ready to accept money for their son's life, does it legally justify the dropped charges/ punishment? The court knows that the three guys committed the murder. And despite this, its dropping of charges seems to be equivalent to saying - Ok. We know you are killers, and we know that killers deserve the strictest of punishments. But so what if that guy died? We're not punishing you-the-murderers, because as long as the dead guy's family is fine with this monetary compromise you guys have reached, we're fine too! After all, if the families of victims of murder, rape, theft, etc., are able to reach a "compromise" with the convict, there really isn't any need for the court to intervene. There is no such thing as an "absolute law". This court isn't here to clean the society. It's here only to handle those situations in which the poor victim has no family. Got it?

Really, it's sick! A crime and a criminal is over and above the family. How can a court close this loop without giving justice to the victim?

UPDATE [APR'12]: This video about the murder of Indian fishermen by Italian marines echoes some of the points I've mentioned above.

1 comment:

  1. Update (20-Mar-11): The feelings I had about the UAE incident came alive once again when I read that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who killed two Pakistani men, was set free by Pakistan because blood money was paid.

    Two men were killed by an American, and some cash and lots of politics freed the murderer.

    We live in an unjust world after all.