“Ik hield van haar, maar ze moest dood” – Over eergerelateerde dodingen

Translated title of the thesis: “I loved her, but she had to die” – About honour related killings”.

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Up till now there has been little research into the incidence and nature of honour related killings in Belgium. Remembering the murder of Sadiah Sheikh and several other cases that were highlighted by the media, we know that honour related killings occur regularly in Belgium. Because of the lack of Belgian research on this phenomenon and the interesting context within which these killings take place, we thought it would be interesting to scrutinize a number of Belgian honour related killings.

In order to study such killings, it is important to have a clear understanding of the phenomenon and its characteristics. In an extensive literature review we discussed what honour related killings are, the triggers that lead to such killings and the characteristics we find in these killings. Amongst other things, we wondered if there is any role of religion, culture or immigration when it comes to such violence. This showed, inter alia, that Islam neither allows nor prescribes honour related violence and that one should look primarily to culture to explain the phenomenon. Also, we studied the possibilities for the criminal justice system to handle these killings. We could conclude, amongst other things, that invoking "extenuating circumstances" is virtually the only way to get a leniency in Belgium because of the background of the honour related killing.

Subsequently we studied six cases that were selected as honour killings by the Antwerp police. We could notice, inter alia, that there are several similarities between the characteristics of our studied cases and the characteristics described in the literature we consulted. By studying the verdicts of the cases we could also find that the judiciary makes no explicit mention of the honour related nature of the killing in their verdicts. Also, in none of the cases was the honour related context explicitly cited as a mitigating circumstance.

This research is based on a study of six cases from Antwerp. Because of the limitation in number of cases and location, we cannot generalize the results of this research to the general situation in Belgium. However, results of the study do suggest that deeper and more extensive research on honour related killings in Belgium is needed.
Date of Award2 Jul 2010
Original languageDutch
SupervisorKristel Beyens (Promotor)


  • Honour Related Killings
  • Belgium

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