The matter of punishment and the death sentence - RASIM ÖZDENÖREN

The matter of punishment and the death sentence

Following the Özgecan murder, which had a shocking effect on the community, the death sentence had reappeared on some segments’ agendas.

This situation should be read as the translation of how indignant the public feels towards this murder.

Let’s assume that the death sentence had once again come into force, will it affect the murderers of this murder? No. According to the two essential principles of the criminal law, it won’t affect them. Even if the new law has foreseen a different punishment for the same action, out of the two laws, the one that is in countenance of the defendant will be applied. As for the second principle; even if the new law has foreseen a more severe punishment to the crime, the defendant will be sentenced with the punishment that was in effect on the day the defendant committed the crime. Both verdicts will lead to the same door…

Here, the public actually wants to mention another principle that is related with the necessity of pursuing harmony between the crime and punishment.

In modern law, no harmony is sought between crime and punishment. Every kind of crime is carried out with imprisonment or a punitive fine. All the crimes ranging from crimes against humanity to crimes against the relations with foreign countries are foreseen with imprisonment or punitive fine. Also, this applies to thievery, murder, crimes against general ethics, and crimes against the government; basically, to all….

Thus, we see that the expected harmony is not established between the crime and punishment.

Here, it’s essential to build a balanced relation between the intention and nature of the crime. What’s the intention of the crime? Some allege that this is an example (from the point of future criminals) while some allege that it’s a correction (from the point of rehabilitating the criminal). In our opinion, both an example and a correction can be the result of the crime at the utmost, not the intention. No punishment can be given for the criminal to sort himself/herself out or for another to see this as an example. There are other ways to actualize the objective of correction and example. The punishment is applied in order to expose the perpetrator, who had broken the order and peace of the community, to the sanction of the action he committed. Even if the perpetrator is reformed before the given punishment is expired, or others had taken this as an example, unless the deserved punishment is completed, the perpetrator cannot be released. Because, the aim of the punishment is inherent in itself, nowhere else.

Actually, the harmonious sanction between the crime and punishment can be possible via the retaliation implementation. However, in order to implement the retaliation, the social order should also be improved to a social political order that is suitable for the retaliation implementation. For example, in order to legitimize chopping the hand of a thief, or, killing a murderer, it’s first necessary to remove thievery and murder from society. Despite this, if thievery and murders are still being committed, then, only then, a retaliation punishment can be manifested. Otherwise, in the disorderly capitalism order, which encourages thievery, if the retaliation implementation is applied to thieves, there will be no harmony provided with that punishment.

I’d like to bring this point to the attention of the people who had been talking about the death sentence for the past fifteen years.


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