Chapter

The Right to Life and Prevention of Crime: Killing by the State as Punishment and/or Deterrence

Elizabeth Wicks

in The Right to Life and Conflicting Interests

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199547395
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547395.003.0005
The Right to Life and Prevention of Crime: Killing by the State as Punishment and/or Deterrence

Show Summary Details

Preview

Chapter 5 considers the challenges to the right to life in the context of the prevention of crime, both in terms of the death penalty and the use of lethal force in order to prevent crime. While international law is moving towards abolition of the death penalty, this movement is independent of the right to life which, for historical reasons, seeks to reconcile the protection of human life with judicial killing. However, both retributive and deterrence arguments in favour of the death penalty are rejected here. The distinguishing factor between the death penalty and the use of lethal force is argued to be that the imposition of death as a punishment can never be regarded as a last resort. It is argued that the only circumstances in which state agents (or others) can legitimately use lethal force against an unjust aggressor is when that is the only means of saving innocent life.

Keywords: death penalty; lethal force; prevention of crime

Chapter.  27448 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.