Question Martin Social Sciences

The definition of assassination

At what point does a murder become an assassination? Is it as simple as paying someone to do it?

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Answer Internal Staff

There are at least three features that typically determine whether a killing qualifies as an assassination. One is the status of the person that is assassinated: they must be some prominent individual – often a political figure. Another other feature is the perpetrator’s reasons for the act. Assassinations are typically committed for impersonal reasons such as for money. Finally, assassinations are never committed on the spur of the moment: they are always premeditated. Payment is therefore not sufficient for an assassination to have taken place; other factors need to be involved. Payment is also not necessary for an act of assassination since it is entirely possible for an assassin to work for free, according to purely political motives.