2022 saw an increase in the number of murder cases in Bhutan as compared to the former year. Amongst the homicides, voluntary manslaughter recorded the highest number in 2022, according to records of the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP).
The total number of murder cases in 2022 is 10, whereas there were only five such cases in 2021. Five manslaughters were reported in 2022, while there were only two cases in 2021.
2022 also recorded four cases of involuntary manslaughter, while there was only a single case in 2021.
According to the Penal Code of Bhutan, “homicide” means a conduct that causes the death of a person and includes murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and negligent homicide.”
The Penal Code of Bhutan also states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offense of murder, if the defendant commits a homicide knowingly and deliberately: (a) With premeditated malice; or (b) While in the commission or attempted commission of another felony (“felony murder”).
The offence of murder is graded as a felony of the first degree.
Voluntary manslaughter is defined in the Penal Code as, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of voluntary manslaughter if the defendant: (a) Possess the intention to kill but without premeditated malice, acts under the violence of sudden passion occasioned by some great provocation such that a reasonable person would be induced to cause the death of other person; or (b) With vicious intent to cause serious bodily injury to a person causes the death of that person,” as stated in the Penal Code.
The crime of voluntary manslaughter shall be a felony of the second degree.
The Penal Code of Bhutan further states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of involuntary manslaughter, if: (a) The conduct that leads to the death of the victim is committed during the defendant’s commission of a reckless act; (b) The conduct that leads to the death of the victim is committed during the commission of another unlawful act other than a felony; or (c) A homicide that would otherwise be murder is committed under the immediate influence of extreme mental or emotional distress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse.”
The offence of involuntary manslaughter shall be a felony of the fourth degree.
Sarpang and South Thimphu police stations recorded one murder case in 2021. Each case of voluntary manslaughter was reported from Thimphu and Wangduephodrang police stations, while only a single involuntary case was reported from the Gelephu police station in 2021.
A lone murder case was reported from the South Thimphu police station in 2022. One voluntary manslaughter case each was reported from Paro, Pasakha, Wamrong, Weeringla, and South Thimphu police stations.
Similarly, one case each was reported from Phuentsholing, Dagana, North Thimphu, and Trashiyangtse police stations.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu