Georges Rif: Demanding a fast execution for Tarek Yatim isn’t justice.

Georges Rif was horribly attacked by a thug following an altercation on the road. Georges Rif refused to let his car overtaken by a small Kia. The Kia aggressively overtook the car by bumping into it (the car wasn’t driven by the killer). Georges Rif and his wife crashed but their car were still functioning. They followed the Kia car to take its plate number from the Salim Slam tunnel to Saifi, Achrafieh. When they arrived at an impasse in the Saifi neighborhood, Tarek Yatim forcefully took Georges Rif from the car, hunted him down after his victim tried to run, and hit him several times with a knife and the back of his gun. His wife who were accompanying him, witnessed this attack.

Georges Rif were taken to a hospital and was declared dead few hours later. He left a wife and four children. Tarek Yatim, quickly identified, were arrested by the police. It’s imported to note that Tarek Yatim had charges against him before killing Georges Rif, including murder.

The Lebanese social media was very fast to condemn Tarek Yatim. Reactions were passionate and bloggers quickly and understandably condemned the security and state of Lebanon, calling the country a jungle. But some reactions were just taken too far.

Some quickly demanded that justice should be made by inflicting the capital punishment of Tarek Yatim. But justice isn’t demanding an execution. For example, a Facebook page was created to demand the capital punishment for Tarek Yatim and has more than 4000 “likes” today, it has pictures like this one.

The picture says: “I demand the capital punishment/execution of Tarek Yatim.” The picture has a stamp that wrongly says the “Lebanese people”

Another shocking tweet states the following:

Another persons thinks that the capital punishment isn’t enough and that Tarek Yatim should be tortured!

Tarek Yatim should be tortured according to this person.
Tarek Yatim should be tortured according to this person.

Capital Punishment in Lebanon. 

In Lebanon, the capital punishment is de facto law but it is currently put on a hiatus. No capital punishment were performed since 2004. I personally believe a country has better ethics when it abolishes capital punishment. A lot of countries have historically abandoned this practise and every year more countries do the same. Life imprisonment – putting people in prisons until their death – is present in numerous nations, and it is often the highest legal punishment of accused persons.

Supporting the capital punishment shouldn’t let their advocators to call for an immediate execution. This reaction is irrational and emotive. Even capital punishment should be done through the basis of fair trials. While the video shows exactly how the killer attacked his victim, it is not our role to demand the capital punishment. I believe that we can react and call for justice, but it is the role of judges and courts to determine Tarek Yatim punishment. It is not our role to be “vigilantes” and “do justice” on our own, as a commenter said here :

Anonymous commenter plans about vigilantism.
Anonymous commenter plans about vigilantism.

I wonder if he’s serious about “making things fair”…

Capital punishment is useless. 

Whether you think a killer “deserves” the capital punishment, the practise is proven to be useless. Some pro-capital punishment believe that executing a person “deter” homicides and therefore are useful. The execution is some kind of a lesson for future criminals. This belief is flawed. Here’s an exemple.

Murder rates in states with and without the death penalty.
source: Amnesty International USA website.

This data proves that states in USA with death penalty don’t have lower death ratios. The presence of death penalty is therefore useless in deterrence.

Lebanon shouldn’t restart the executions. We haven’t executed a single person since 2004, let’s keep it this way. The accused that are condemned to the death penalty should be given other sentences.

What is the difference between Death Penalty and Drones Strikes. [Opinion]

Defining the Death Penalty.

The Death Penalty or Capital punishment is a legal process when a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. Death Penalties must occur after the accused face a just court. The accused person is punished after concluded that he is the perpetrator of the alleged crime.

The Death Penalty must then be applied in a predefined and installed “just” system. A set of laws that indiscriminately judge people in Justice and Fairness. In Justice, all men must face legal courts and a judgment before being punished. All men have the right to claim they are falsely accused and prove the accuser is wrong.

I really stress on the All men, yes, even Ben Laden or Hitler. Personally, I wish they faced Justice before being punished, even when it is a fact than Ben Laden conducted 9/11, even when it is a fact that Hitler led to awful massacres in WW2. That is justice. All men are equal before the law all man must face just and legal action based on a fair set of laws.

Death Penalty and War.

But what about war ? Is it legal or fair to kill a person before he is judged ? Let’s imagine a small scene.

A group of armed man enter your neighborhood with a clear goal to destroy it and kill. They begin to fire, you and your neighbors take weapons and kill them all.

In this previous scenario is killing a person “death penalty” ? Not really, it is a direct act of self-defense. The Armed men were going to kill you, so you decided that you are going to kill them first. So in a state of war, when faced to a direct lethal threat or attack, you respond and kill without really facing prison.

That’s the whole debate here. The difference between threat and factual attack. The difference between a very well defined threat or a probable threat.

Are drones strikes considered to be conducted in a state of war ?

I said previously that in a state of war you could act in self-defense and kill without facing prison. But is killing alleged terrorists considered as an act of war, in a state of war ? Pro “war on terrorism” will come and say : “yes, it is a war against terrorists that pose a direct threat to the Security of USA and the world so it is legitimate to kill those terrorists”. But what if they aren’t direct ? (Here again define direct threat), Will they be able to conduct terrorists acts in USA ? When ? How?

Those are questions that should be answered.

Personally, I think that drones strikes aren’t considered to be acts of a state of war. Those that are preparing an act of terror in USA or anywhere else in the world, didn’t act yet. Of course we must not wait until they act to judge them or stop them. Those terrorists will try to find ways to destroy USA and their enemies. But destroying them before judging them is dangerous. It is better to stop them and judge them and put them in jail [or face death penalty]. Today it is highly possible with Interpol and the international police force. In fact, it is way more instructive to understand why they want to attack America and their allies. This only could end the endless conflict against terrorists.

So what is the difference between death penalty and drones strikes to my opinion ?

Drones strikes are unjust because they happen 1) before the crime of the alleged terrorist and 2) before he is judged.| Death penalty is an act of justice whereas drones strikes are unjust death penalties.

PS : What I have said in this article doesn’t make me pro-terrorist or pro-death penalty. But it does make me anti-drones strikes.