Sunday, 27 May 2007

Any form of punishment that is effective in maintaining law and order is justified. Do you agree?

I feel that it is not justifiable that any effective punishment in maintaining law and order should be allowed. In my opinion, many less developed or rural areas which are left out from the rapid globalization are more prone to have occurrences of unorthodox justice practices.

Take for example in Togo, West Africa, a village there believes that using a hot pot of boiling oil is effective in determining the criminal. Majority of villagers there are farmers, they depend on yam for their livelihood. There was once when one of the farmers discovered that some of his harvest went missing and suspected another fellow villager to be guilty of the crime. The practice of using the boiling oil was carried out and ultimately solved the case. In another part of the world, in Albania, where there is an ineffective justice system, people take the law into their own hands which resulted in blood feud for generations.

In the eyes of people in these places, the form of punishment administered is justifiable as it is effective. However, there are other considerations such as whether the punishment is ethical and appropriate for that particular crime committed. I view the use of a hot pot of boiling oil as merely a test of pain endurance, so the suspect may have been forced to confess because he could not endure the pain of placing has hands in the boiling pot of oil. The blood feud in Albania has deprived numerous children of education and a bright future due to the fear of being murdered by their enemies.

Therefore, it is crucial that the relevant authority should intervene to attempt to change the mindsets of these people; although it would take a long time for these people to correct their beliefs. It would also mean to work with governments in these countries to provide basic education for the young. Education would empower people with knowledge, a correct set of beliefs and has the ability to put an end to these unorthodox practices.

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