Durchgeführte Hinrichtungen 2008: 38

The relatives of murder victims have a right to the execution of the perpetrator?

Quotes from letters:

..... The death penalty is the only proper punishment for murderers, rapists and child molesters…...
......everything else would be a punishment for the bereaved and relatives....         

In the US, the concept is widespread, that if the murderer were killed, it would be a great aid in overcoming the pain for members of the murder victim.

In many US states, the members have the right to be witness of the execution.

Practical experiences, show however, that it is in no way a suitable means of closure for these families and those who witness an execution, very rarely perceive it as such.

Firstly, this means for the person, who is promising themselves gratification and coming to terms with the pain, must wait years for the execution of the murderer (10 years or considerably more). During this time, dealing productively with the pain and inner closure is rather prevented, as the person affected is fixating themselves entirely on the feelings of revenge.

The execution itself is experienced differently. Many are disappointed and claim that the convicted suffered far too little. Others are shocked or traumatized to have been witness to the carefully planned murder of an other human being.

Due to this experience, some of them become active protestors against the death penalty.

Time and again there are always members who decline to be witnesses of the execution, as they cannot believe that their pain will be less when the same pain is inflicted to the family members of the convicted.

An impressive example of such a stance is Anne Coleman. She is the coordinator for the abolishment of the death penalty at Amnesty International in the federal state of Delaware and lost a daughter through murder. Please find her report here.  

On a related note we want to invite you to also visit the websites of the murder victim's families organizations 'Journey of Hope', 'Murder Victim's Families for Human Rights' and 'Murder Victim's Families for  Reconciliation'.  




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