Istanbul Convention - Crimes committed in the name of so-called “honour” (2019)
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women Istanbul Convention, CETS No. 210) covers various forms of gender-based violence, which is defined as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately” (Article 3.d).
So-called “honour crimes” are one form of gender-based violence. However, if you are looking for an outright criminalisation of such crimes, your search will be in vain. The drafters of the convention analysed so-called “honour crimes” very carefully: the reasons why they are committed and what perpetrators are trying to achieve with this type of violence. This exercise showed that crimes committed in the name of so-called “honour” are usually crimes that have been part of the criminal law landscape of Council of Europe member states for a very long time: murder, manslaughter, bodily injury, etc. What makes them different is the intent behind them. They are committed to pursue an aim other than, or in addition to, the immediate effect of the crime. This ulterior aim may be the restoration of family “honour”, the desire to be seen as respecting tradition or complying with the perceived religious, cultural or customary requirements of a particular community.
To capture this, the drafters of the convention moved away from the original idea of introducing a separate criminal offence for so-called “honour crimes” and agreed instead to ban any attempts to justify criminal behaviour on the basis of culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour”.