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. Homicide is not always an illegal act.
Criminal homicide is a malum in se crime, and every legal system contains some form of prohibition or regulation of criminal homicide.
Homicidal crimes in some criminal jurisdictions include:
- Murder/murder in English law
- Manslaughter/manslaughter in English law
- Criminal Homicide
Many forms of homicide have their own term based on the person being killed.
- Infanticide - Killing of an infant
- Fratricide - Killing of one's brother; in a military context, killing of a friendly combatant
- Sororicide - Killing of one's sister
- Parricide - Killing of one's parents
- Patricide - Killing of one's father
- Matricide - Killing of one's mother
- Mariticide - Killing of one's spouse
- Uxoricide - Killing of one's wife
- Filicide - Killing of one's child
- Regicide - Killing of a monarch.
- Genocide - Killing of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group
Homicides do not always involve a crime. Sometimes the law allows homicide by allowing certain defenses to criminal charges. One of the most recognized is self defense, which provides that a person is entitled to commit homicide to protect his or her own life from a deadly attack.
Some defenses include:
Homicides may also be non-criminal when conducted with the sanction of the state. The most obvious example is capital punishment, in which the state determines that a person should die, but homicides committed during war are usually not subject to criminal prosecution as well.