Lebanon Deletes “Honor” Crime Article from Penal Code
You can read the full post in Arabic about the Lebanese Parliament vote to cancel Article 562 of the Penal Code that offers reduced sentences for “honor” crimes.
The Committee for Administration and Justice, headed by MP Robert Ghanem, had raised the recommendation to cancel Article 562 back on May 16, 2011. The matter was put to a vote as the last point on the agenda of the legislative parliamentary meeting yesterday. Some MPs argued against the annulment: Butros Harb, Samir El Jisr, Imad El Hout, and Ali Fayyad. Others argued for removing Article 562: Sami Gemayel, Elie Keyrouz, Antoine Zahra, Marwan Hamadeh, Ghassan Moukhaiber, and Elie Aoun, and their arguments were good.
The vote finally passed FOR and the article should now officially be removed from the Penal Code. I could not find information on the voting numbers – I will post those when I do. Nayla Tueni and Gilberte Zouein (who represent half of the women in parliament since we only have four) were not even present.
It is important to note that Saada Allaw from AsSafir had written an article objecting to the annulment of Article 562 without looking at Article 252 as well. Article 252 allows for reduced sentences on crimes committed in a state of rage. She argues that many judges in Lebanon would frame “honor” crimes as ones committed in a state of rage and criminals could still benefit from reduced sentences. Although she is right, I don’t think we could have a Penal Code that does not distinguish between pre-meditated murder and second degree murder. So I am not sure what the solution would be – perhaps to forbid its use when it comes to gender-based violence. Thoughts?
The important thing now is that this small and long overdue victory does not take our eyes off the crucial battle of sending the bill to Protect Women from Family Violence into Parliament for a vote. It is right now still in the Special Committee and might be vetoed through the pressure of religious groups. “Honor” crimes are a direct result of the vicious cycle of gender-based violence going unpunished and remaining a taboo in Lebanon. So if we’ve agreed to cancel those, we might as well install protective laws against violence all together.
In all cases, congratulations to the women’s movement on this victory