Why the Bali bombers’ executions are immoral and unjust?

11 Nov

The death penalty is injurious to the application of justice because it cannot be morally appealing in any situation.

That is even when we can prove without a doubt that the three bali bombers are guilty and show no remorse for what they have done. In such instances, they cannot be killed by the state or by any highest form of legal body.

This is because not only is the right to life guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is something unjust about capital punishment, even for those who have committed the most heinous crime.

One way of understanding the vileness of the death penalty is its irreversibility. As anti-death penalty advocates have maintained, just because a wrong is committed which is irreversible (in this case, the deaths and injuries inflicted upon the bali bombers’ victims), it does not necessary follow that the state or any legal body has a right to implement a similar irreversible sentence.

As long as someone is spared of his or her life, there is always the chance that he or she will repent or do good with their life, even if he or she remains in prison. This, after all, should be the main goal of any criminal and justice system. Not to unnecessarily punish someone beyond the seriousness of his or her crime and to ‘rehabilitate’ the offender. This is a delicate balance and often times require judgements. Nevertheless, executions represent that extreme of ‘pursuing justice for justice sake’ because it is precisely irreversible. In fact, it does not serve justice since it takes away the chance for the offender to show remorse.

Showing remorse is healing for both the offender and the families and friends of victims. While it is true that friends and families of those who have been murdered may call for the death of the bombers, the death penalty is neither healing nor closure in any aspect. When someone is wronged, the greatest consolation to him or her is to be asked forgiveness by the perpetuator and to give it. Therefore, the death penalty deprives those who survived, the chance to heal.

There is also something morally distasteful in the Bali bombers’ execution.

Firstly, the response of the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is ambiguous and contradictory. While he has said that the government is opposed to the death penalty, even calling it a ‘universal opposition’, he further argued that the government will only intervene in cases involving Australians. To paraphrase, Kevin Rudd is implying Australian lives are more valuable than non-Australians. Such statements smacks of double standards and hypocritical for a liberal democracy and Western power like Australia.

More importantly, the execution has triggered an undesirable political impact. In this case, the families, friends and sympathetic supporters of the bali bombers, ‘aggrieved’ at the sentence, have come out to protest and hailed the men as martyrs. Though not immediately obvious, this episode has increased tension between Muslims and the West.

This will further add fuel to extremism sentiments especially towards those who are undecided or those with young and impressionable minds. Religious teachers will now have more grounds to propagate the hypocrisy of the West and to breed hatred against what it represents. In allowing that to happen, the West becomes morally culpable when it fails to state its unequivocal opposition to the death penalty.

Therefore, when Kevin Rudd said justice has been done, he was in fact, unaware, that it has been violated.


7 Responses to “Why the Bali bombers’ executions are immoral and unjust?”

  1. Ken Lovell November 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    I’m sure it will also increase the pressure on the Indonesian government to make sure the Australian heroin smugglers meet a similar fate, just to demonstrate even-handedness. I wait with interest to see if the same people expressing satisfaction at the latest state-mandated murder will be the first to condemn the barbarity of shooting Australians.

  2. Rex Hump November 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    “This is because not only is the right to life guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is something unjust about capital punishment, even for those who have committed the most heinous crime”

    So killing 202 people is not worth the penalty of death? According to you Hilter, Stalin and Pol Pot weren’t such bad people afterall, just misunderstood.

  3. Charles November 12, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Dear Rump,

    I have never said that the crimes perpetuated by Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot are not disastrous. Please do not take my comment out of context.

    I would like to hear from those who are for the death penalty, even for the most heinous crime, to come up with a convincing argument which I have briefly stated.

    Executions do not equate to justice being done. They do more harm than good in society because it takes away or deprives both the executioneer and the families and friends of those who survived the chance to ‘heal’. What executions does is to perpetuate violence, inflict more suffering and grief.

    That is the point I was trying to make when Rudd says justice is done with regards to the Bali bombers.

  4. Jim Adams July 26, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I came across your blog on the subject, Rex has a point, if someone does kill a vast number of people then why do you feel punishment is not be warranted in such extreme cases?

    You sound like a political correct fool that wouldn’t know how to defend yourself if attacked because you wouldn’t want to offend them.

  5. Charles July 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm #


    Firstly, I never said people should not be punished for their crimes. I’m saying that the death penalty cannot be just.

    In addition, we are debating on issues of justice, not about ‘defending’ or ‘offending’ others when attacked.

    • Sue October 10, 2010 at 11:53 am #

      Hmmmmm, I was researching the Bali Bombers and came up to your post via a Google Search. It sure seems you forgot about the rights of those people murdered. I know of good friends that were killed in Bali at that time. They were on a end of season football trip, none of them deserved to die. The fact that these scoundrels did it and were punished for it suffices the crime they committed. You are ignoring the people who were innocent victims and protecting the lives of murders. I think you need to take a look at the due process of the law in Bali, and see that their punishment fitted the crimes. If the death penalty not be ‘just’ (as you say), how can the killings done by the Bali Bombers not be seen as ‘just’ either. You think that execution of the bombers was not just, and capital punishment for any crime not just either. By your logic, I could kill millions of people and not expect the death penalty because it’s not ‘just’? C’mon! You are just a coward who likes to pass yourself off as self-righteous and self congratulate yourself but you really are incredibly stupid as your argument is flawed mate.

  6. Charles October 11, 2010 at 9:55 am #


    the lives of those who perished at the Bali bombing were innocent and I’m not arguing that those who died or were injured don’t have any human rights. But how does executing those who committed those crimes brings back those lives or their rights?

    It seems those who call for executions are believing that justice can only be done through the death penalty. Asking for blood is easy because it allows the living to believe they are doing those who are gone, a service. Dispassionately and rationally speaking, it is inhumane. The argument that people will go on a killing spree just because there is no death penalty is illogical. No one commits a crime punishable by death thinking they are going to get caught.

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