Article 28 of the Criminal Code established that a person can be exonerated for any offense committed in self-defense or to defend other people from an unjustified aggression, even if the aggressor end up dead.
Self-defense is now in the public eye due to recent cases: the homicide of a thief by an agent of the OIJ in San Pedro, the death of a suspect assaulting a jewelry store in San José, the death of a suspect in a farm in Guácimo, at the hands of the watch-man, among others.
Experts emphasize that this right is executed in a very thin line, from a legal point of view and because of the danger for the third persons involved.
Freddy Guillén, head of police intelligence at the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said they are not in favor of people ‘taking justice into their own hands’ and maintained the recommendation not to resist.
Resisting a crime creates conflicts, because there have been situations where the person acquires firearms but does not have the training to use them effectively. Instead of preventing the incident, they end up harming third parties,”
For the official, when a person takes ‘justice into their hands’, they deteriorate the system and can commit crimes greater than those intended by the first offender.
What if you have everything in order? According to Guillén, having permits does not suppose a free pass to shoot.
Minor Araya, former head of the Police Service Immediate Intervention (SPII) from the OIJ and security expert, would not use the term ‘take justice into their own hands’ and said that the citizens now know the authorities are not being fully able to contain crime.
When the person is threatened, he has no choice but to defend himself. It is not taking justice into their hands, it is really the application and exercise of the right we have to defend our lives,”
The expert said that “there are criminals who kill for possessions, for power or pleasure.” That is why no one can afford to lose their life if they have the ability and knowledge to defend themselves.
From Araya’s point of view the problem lies with self-defense without proper knowledge.
It’s not just about knowing how to pull the trigger but how and when to use it,”
explain the former agent.
According to data from the MSP’s Armament Directorate, in Costa Rica, a country without an army, the bulk of the registered weapons are in the hands of the people.
Out of 237,000 firearms, only 80,000 belong to legal persons (companies or security companies).