Perpetuating the Traditional Honour Crimes: The Machinery of the Criminal Justice System and Its Approach toward Honour and Passion Models in the West Bank

In: Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Online
Ayah-Omran Randall Assistant Professor, Human Rights Master’s Program, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies Doha Qatar

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The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of the legislative approach to honour crimes to understand its effect on the judicial approach. This is done through the analysis of Abu Odeh’s argument that posits the legislature as progressive. This paper is a doctrinal analysis of the key articles of the Jordanian Penal Code No. 16 of 1960, still applicable in the West Bank. While Abu Odeh argues that the legislature acts as the progressive harbinger of change through the incorporation of some elements of the crime of passion into the Penal Code, this paper presents a different picture. This picture shows a reality in which the concepts of honour crimes as a form of cultural violence based on traditions and the crime of passion as a form of gender-based violence are conflated by legislators. This becomes apparent in Article 340 which presents a problematic definition of honour and passion which rather than providing clarity conflates the two. The feature of Article 340, in addition to the prevalence of traditional honour in the prosecution of sexual crimes, has led judges to put forth their own interpretation of the provocation defence implied by Article 98 in relation to honour crimes to resist progressive legal reform.

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