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6 April, 2022

EDITORIAL: Questioning a moral and legal dilemma

They are heard in whispers, the slightly embarrassed murmurings of the unspeakable - we have all heard them, and perhaps even whispered them ourselves. ‘Someone needs to take Putin down’. Said in a variety of ways from the delicate to the fierce, it is all the same. Since Putin had his troops invade Ukraine, since the almost universal outrage at the attacks on innocent civilians, there has been a growing call for the head of Putin, either in fact or as a case for Putin to be held accountable as a war criminal. Taking a step back, we say, is it ever justified to take the life of a tyrant, is there ever a moral or even a legal case to be made for tyrannicide. Putin seems to meet the criteria for the legal case of tyrannicide, the killing of a ruler who is either illegitimate, oppressive or shows aggression towards his countrymen or others. However, is it not important to consider there could be destabilising effects on the country and/or the globe. Should we consider that tyrants are the foes of humankind and therefore be hunted down using the argument of self defence and the protection of human rights.

By Sue Hynes


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