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Likhet Inför Slagen? - Brottsoffers identitet och våldsverkares straff

Eriksson, Arvid LU (2017) JURM02 20171
Department of Law
Abstract
The notion that all are equal before law, and thus are entitled to equal protection by law, is well established in Western society. However, there are still exceptions to this rule. Physically similar acts of violence may be punished differently, depending on the identity of the victim. Not only the severity of an assault, but also the sexuality, occupation, age and ethnicity of the victim are factors that, among others, may affect the offender’s verdict. The purpose of this essay is to find out who benefits from this extra protection, how and why they benefit from it and how such extra protection correlates with human rights and basic principles of Swedish law.

In Sweden, there are two ways to increase a penalty due to the victim's... (More)
The notion that all are equal before law, and thus are entitled to equal protection by law, is well established in Western society. However, there are still exceptions to this rule. Physically similar acts of violence may be punished differently, depending on the identity of the victim. Not only the severity of an assault, but also the sexuality, occupation, age and ethnicity of the victim are factors that, among others, may affect the offender’s verdict. The purpose of this essay is to find out who benefits from this extra protection, how and why they benefit from it and how such extra protection correlates with human rights and basic principles of Swedish law.

In Sweden, there are two ways to increase a penalty due to the victim's identity. The first method is to create a separate offense, with separate sentencing guidelines, higher than in comparable cases where the victims are not especially protected. The second method is to condemn the offender of an already existing offense, but to instead let the victim’s identity affect the particular sentence, rendering in a higher sentence than usual for that offense.

Broadly speaking, Sweden has four different groups of people who enjoy such additional protection. State officials, the head of state and family, people considered not being capable of defending themselves, such as children, elderly and disabled, and people belonging to certain minorities. These regulations have been implemented separately, during a long period of time, and vary in form and purpose. The legislation’s limits are not uncontroversial, and over the years several proposals have been presented in parliament, concerning extensions as well as reductions. Politicians and journalists are groups that have been mentioned to deserve additional protection, while the extensive protection of the king has been questioned. The laws have never been fully harmonized with each other, causing many to complain about inconsistency and unfairness.

While the Swedish laws may not violate any human rights – laws like this exists not only in Sweden, but in many other democracies – it can be questioned whether these regulations are fully in line with established principles concerning crime and punishment. It is said that the severity of a punishment is to be determined by the principles of proportionality, universal prevention, individual prevention, and humanism. It certainly is possible to vaguely connect the Swedish regulations to these principles of punishment, but one could argue that they do not justify the difference between some groups of people and others. Legislators ought to tread carefully when dealing with human rights, and perhaps it’s time for Sweden to take a step back, and examine these regulations in the light of our principles of law. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Föreställningen att alla människor är lika inför lagen, och skall erhålla samma rättsliga skydd, är allmänt vedertagen inom västerländsk rätt. Detta till trots görs det alltjämt undantag till denna regel. Beroende på faktorer hänförliga till brottsoffrets identitet, såsom vederbörandes yrke, sexualitet, ålder och etnicitet, m.fl., kan fysiskt likvärdiga våldshandlingar ibland bestraffas olika. Denna uppsats syfte är att reda ut vilka brottsoffer som är berättigade till detta särskilda skydd, varför de är det, och hur detta särskilda skydd korrelerar med mänskliga rättigheter och grundläggande rättsliga principer.

Det finns inom svensk rätt två olika sätt att öka en gärnings straffvärde beroende på vem brottsoffret är. Den första metoden... (More)
Föreställningen att alla människor är lika inför lagen, och skall erhålla samma rättsliga skydd, är allmänt vedertagen inom västerländsk rätt. Detta till trots görs det alltjämt undantag till denna regel. Beroende på faktorer hänförliga till brottsoffrets identitet, såsom vederbörandes yrke, sexualitet, ålder och etnicitet, m.fl., kan fysiskt likvärdiga våldshandlingar ibland bestraffas olika. Denna uppsats syfte är att reda ut vilka brottsoffer som är berättigade till detta särskilda skydd, varför de är det, och hur detta särskilda skydd korrelerar med mänskliga rättigheter och grundläggande rättsliga principer.

Det finns inom svensk rätt två olika sätt att öka en gärnings straffvärde beroende på vem brottsoffret är. Den första metoden innebär att en egen brottstyp införts, vilken innehåller en högre straffskala än i jämförbara fall där offret inte ansågs vara särskilt skyddsvärt. Den andra metoden är att i stället döma förövaren till ett redan existerande brott, men istället låta det konkreta straffvärdet, straffvärdet för den enskilda gärningen, vara högre än vanligtvis.

I stora drag kan sägas att Sverige för närvarande har 4 olika grupper av människor som åtnjuter ett sådant extra skydd. Tjänstemän, statschefen med familj, människor som inte bedöms vara kapabla att försvara sig själva, som barn, åldringar, funktionsnedsatta, samt människor tillhörandes vissa minoritetsgrupper. Dessa skydd har införts var för sig, under en lång tidsperiod. Lagstiftningens gräns är inte okontroversiell, och genom åren har en utvidgning såväl som en minskning av dess omfång diskuterats i Riksdagen. Politiker och journalister är grupper som har nämnts förtjäna ett särskilt skydd, medan kungens extensiva skydd har ifrågasatts. De olika regleringarna har aldrig till fullo harmoniserats med varandra, vilket lett till att de av många anses inkonsekventa och orättvisa.

Emedan Sveriges lag näppeligen strider mot de mänskliga rättigheterna – liknande lagar existerar i många andra demokratier – kan det ifrågasättas huruvida regleringarna till fullo stämmer överens med vedertagna juridiska principer rörande brott och straff. Det brukar sägas att en gärnings straffvärde bör avgöras av principerna om proportionalitet, allmänprevention, individualprevention och humanism. Det är visserligen möjligt att hitta likheter mellan dagens rättsläge och dessa bestraffningsideologier, men det går likväl att anföra att de inte rättfärdigar skillnaden som görs på olika grupper av människor. Lagstiftare borde vidta försiktighet när man rör sig i trakten kring mänskliga rättigheter, och måhända är det tid för Sverige att ta ett steg tillbaka, och undersöka hur dessa regleringar ter sig i ljuset av de straffrättsliga principerna. (Less)
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author
Eriksson, Arvid LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Equality Before the Law? - The identity of victims of violence and the punishment of perpetrators
course
JURM02 20171
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt, Brottsoffer, Likhetsprincipen
language
Swedish
id
8908806
date added to LUP
2017-06-15 14:50:20
date last changed
2017-06-15 14:50:20
@misc{8908806,
  abstract     = {The notion that all are equal before law, and thus are entitled to equal protection by law, is well established in Western society. However, there are still exceptions to this rule. Physically similar acts of violence may be punished differently, depending on the identity of the victim. Not only the severity of an assault, but also the sexuality, occupation, age and ethnicity of the victim are factors that, among others, may affect the offender’s verdict. The purpose of this essay is to find out who benefits from this extra protection, how and why they benefit from it and how such extra protection correlates with human rights and basic principles of Swedish law.

In Sweden, there are two ways to increase a penalty due to the victim's identity. The first method is to create a separate offense, with separate sentencing guidelines, higher than in comparable cases where the victims are not especially protected. The second method is to condemn the offender of an already existing offense, but to instead let the victim’s identity affect the particular sentence, rendering in a higher sentence than usual for that offense.

Broadly speaking, Sweden has four different groups of people who enjoy such additional protection. State officials, the head of state and family, people considered not being capable of defending themselves, such as children, elderly and disabled, and people belonging to certain minorities. These regulations have been implemented separately, during a long period of time, and vary in form and purpose. The legislation’s limits are not uncontroversial, and over the years several proposals have been presented in parliament, concerning extensions as well as reductions. Politicians and journalists are groups that have been mentioned to deserve additional protection, while the extensive protection of the king has been questioned. The laws have never been fully harmonized with each other, causing many to complain about inconsistency and unfairness. 

While the Swedish laws may not violate any human rights – laws like this exists not only in Sweden, but in many other democracies – it can be questioned whether these regulations are fully in line with established principles concerning crime and punishment. It is said that the severity of a punishment is to be determined by the principles of proportionality, universal prevention, individual prevention, and humanism. It certainly is possible to vaguely connect the Swedish regulations to these principles of punishment, but one could argue that they do not justify the difference between some groups of people and others. Legislators ought to tread carefully when dealing with human rights, and perhaps it’s time for Sweden to take a step back, and examine these regulations in the light of our principles of law.},
  author       = {Eriksson, Arvid},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt,Brottsoffer,Likhetsprincipen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Likhet Inför Slagen? - Brottsoffers identitet och våldsverkares straff},
  year         = {2017},
}