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Crime and euthanasia

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  1. The notion of crime : a fluctuant definition
    1. Historical influence of the notion
    2. A crime : a production of the law
  2. The problem of euthanasia : crime or mercy?
    1. An ethical debate
    2. The consecration of a right to die in peace?

According to the dictionary, a crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction. We can also consider that a crime is a deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms and cultural standards that prescribe how humans ought to behave. Euthanasia is defined by the Petit Larousse as a practice of causing the death of an individual affected by an incurable disease which imposes him or her unbearable moral and physical sufferings, particularly by a doctor or under his control. Is euthanasia a crime, or deviant behavior, or an act of mercy and charity towards the suffering persons? We will see how the notion of crime is fluctuant, and will discuss the problem about euthanasia, which is legalized in some countries but still considering as a crime in the majority of the others. The debate on the euthanasia is not finished yet, and although this practice is forbidden in most of the countries, the march towards the legalization is gradually becoming apparent as shown in the Kouchner law of March 4th, 2002 in France which wants to avoid the use of intensive medication.

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