Thursday, April 12, 2007

Extrajudicial killings

Odd words that hide the truth: extrajudicial killings- sounds to me like murder- the nuances were lost on me, and were also lost on the presenter I questioned the other day who used the term.

So I look it up on the source of all quick and easy but not necessarily correct information, Wikipedia, where it discusses extrajudicial punishment:

Extrajudicial punishment is physical punishment without the permission of a court or legal authority. Generally, it can be carried out by a state apparatus needing to rid itself of a dangerously disruptive influence. One interpretation behind the concept of extrajudicial punishment is that governments will break their own legal code when it is expedient for them to do so. Non-governmental or non-state actors, including private individuals, can also resort to different forms of extrajudicial punishment, though such actions are often classified as assassinations or murders instead.

So if I understand it correctly, extrajudicial killings are illegal killings by a government, which done by non-governments or non-states, like Ralph next door, would be considered murder or assassination. Words are interesting things. It is sometimes interesting to me to note the left or right leaning media treatments of folks who wear bomb vests- shall we label them "suicide-bombers" or "murder-bombers"?

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