Honor killings, generally considered premeditated, are typically held to be distinct fromCrimes of passion, which occur throughout the world. Crimes of passion often havespecial status under the law. For instance, until 1975, the French Penal Code commutedthe sentence of a husband who killed his wife after finding her in the act of committingadultery; this law passed into the legal frameworks of the many nations who based their modern legal codes on the Napoleonic Code. Thus, Crimes of passion are different fromhonor killings, in the sense that they are spontaneous acts that aren't planned.Furthermore, many honor killings (along with some Crimes of passion) are based onsheer suspicion as opposed to (what appears to be) factual proof, in relation to the ideathat an individual has committed or been involved in an "undesirable act", in the mind of the perpetrator(s).
Honor killing in national legal codes
According to the report of the Special Rapporteur submitted to the 58th session of theUnited Nations Commission on Human Rights (2002) concerning cultural practices inthe family that reflect violence against women:
The Special Rapporteur indicated that there had been contradictory decisions with regardto the honor defence in Brazil, and that legislative provisions allowing for partial or complete defence in that context could be found in the penal codes of Argentina,Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Syria,Turkey, Venezuela and the Palestinian National Authority.Some of these, including those of Turkey, have since been modified.
Countries where the law can be interpreted to allow men to kill female relatives in a premeditated effort as well as for crimes of passions, in flagrante delicto in the act of committing adultery, include:
Jordan: Part of article 340 of the Penal Code states that "he who discovers his wife or oneof his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them, isexempted from any penalty." This has twice been put forward for cancellation by thegovernment, but was retained by the Lower House of the Parliament.
Countries that allow men to kill female relatives in flagrante delicto (but without premeditation) include:
Article 548 states that "He who catches his wife or one of his ascendants,descendants or sister committing adultery (flagrante delicto) or illegitimate sexual actswith another and he killed or injured one or both of them benefits from an exemption of penalty."
Countries that allow husbands to kill only their wives in flagrante delicto (based uponthe Napoleonic code) include: