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Homicide (Latin homicidium, homo human being + caedere to cut, kill) refers to the act of killing another human being. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English. Although homicide does not define an illegal act necessarily, sometimes it is used synonymously with "murder."


Justifiable homicide

Justifiable homicide

Criminal homicide

Criminal homicide takes several forms and includes certain unintentional killings. The crime committed in a criminal homicide is determined by the state of mind of the defendant and statutes defining the crime. Murder, for example, is usually an intentional crime. In some jurisdictions, certain types of murders automatically qualify for capital punishment, but if the defendant in a capital case is sufficiently mentally disabled in the United States he or she may not be executed, for reasons described in Atkins v. Virginia, similar to those utilizing an insanity defense.

Varying by jurisdiction, a homicide that occurs during the commission of a felony may constitute murder regardless the felon's mental state with regard to the killing. This is known as the felony murder rule. Much abbreviated and incomplete, the felony murder rule says that one committing a felony may be guilty of murder if someone, including the felony victim, a bystander or a co-felon, dies as a result of his acts, regardless his intent—or lack thereof—to kill.

Criminal homicides also include voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The mental state of the perpetrator of these crimes differs from that of one who commits murder.

Although suicide is not a form of homicide, assisting in another's suicide may constitute criminal homicide, as codified, for instance, in California Penal Code Sec. 401.

State-sanctioned homicide

Homicides may also be non-criminal when conducted with the sanction of the state. The most obvious examples are capital punishment, in which the state determines that a person should die. Homicides committed in action during war are usually not subject to criminal prosecution either. In addition, members of law enforcement entities are also allowed to commit justified homicides within certain parameters which, when met, do not usually result in prosecution; see deadly force.

Global statistics

List of countries by intentional homicide rate

A 2011 study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime brought together a wide variety of data sources to create a worldwide picture of trends and developments. Sources included multiple agencies and field offices of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and national and international sources from 207 countries.

The report estimated that in 2010, the total number of homicides globally was 468,000. More than a third (36%) occurred in Africa, 31% in the Americas, 27% in Asia, 5% in Europe and 1% in Oceania. Since 1995, the homicide rate has been falling in Europe, North America, and Asia, but has risen to a near "crisis point" in Central America and the Caribbean. Of all homicides worldwide, 82% of the victims were male and 18% were female.

On a per-capita scaled level, "the homicide rate in Africa and the Americas (at 17 and 16 per 100,000 population, respectively) is more than double the global average (6.9 per 100,000), whereas in Asia, Europe and Oceania (between 3 and 4 per 100,000) it is roughly half."

[W]here homicide rates are high and firearms and organized crime in the form of drug trafficking play a substantial role, 1 in 50 men aged 20 will be murdered before they reach the age of 31. At the other, the probability of such an occurrence is up to 400 times lower.
[H]omicide is much more common in countries with low levels of human development, high levels of income inequality and weak rule of law than in more equitable societies, where socio-economic stability seems to be something of an antidote to homicide.
Women murdered by their past or present male partner make up the vast majority of [female] victims.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Homicide" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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