Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Don't become the monsters we prosecute

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


There is a school of thought that hanging should be implemented as a means of deterring criminals, which would thereby reduce the number of murders that we have to contend with.

It is quite understandable that we would want vengeance in some form when we are faced with atrocities, including vigilante justice, which would bring us instant gratification in many cases.

We must realise, however, that we are not a law unto ourselves. Escalating violence in such a way would do more harm than good. Therefore, we should turn to social institutions such as the courts.

Indeed, the society must call for condemnation of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes and for them to suffer the ultimate penalty. But even when we are talking about criminals, we must be careful and make rational decisions rather than those rooted in emotion.

To subject any human being to the regressive, barbaric and the brutal institution of hanging would be inconsistent with our constitutional protection against cruel and inhuman treatment and the right to life.

No civilised society should embrace or arrogate to itself the right to take away the life of any citizen as punishment. We have already been victimised by criminality in society. Why should we become cruel and heartless monsters as well?