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Ik Heb Mijn Namus Gezuiverd

NCJ Number
Justitele vergkenningen Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Dated: 2002 Pages: 61-74
C.W. Maris van Sandelingenambacht
Date Published
14 pages
This paper examines the validity of a cultural defense in cases in the Netherlands in which an immigrant acts on foreign cultural values in perpetrating a killing to protect family honor.
Patterns of globalization and international migration have enriched western societies with immigrant cultural values and practices; however, this has also led to cultural conflicts of serious proportions. One of the most serious challenges to Western criminal law is the practice in some cultures of killing to avenge or cleanse family honor. This article considers how Dutch law should deal with such killings that occur under Dutch jurisdiction. Of primary concern is whether the court should, in such cases, accept evidence of differences in cultural values as grounds for mitigating this criminal conduct. This paper argues that the right of immigrant women to equal protection by the state overrides the cultural rights of ethnic minorities. An appeal to justifiable conduct or duress is unacceptable. Although a cultural defense is valid, this paper argues that it should not lead to reduced sentences in cases of honor killings. 25 references