So, here is a very high-level question that’s been on my mind: Sure, if the Empire is in control during the majority of events in the “Star Wars” universe, is murder still considered a crime? Even before and after the existence of the Empire?

For example, when Han shoots Greedo, was that considered murder? I mean in the original non–“Special Edition” film, Han preemptively shot Greedo. Would he then have a record for shooting an alien in cold blood? In the “Special Edition” world, would Greedo have been considered an attempted murderer for attempting to kill Han Solo?

And that said, this is not specific to Han Solo and his encounter with Greedo but rather the crime of murder in general. I am just using Han as an example I can think of from the films.

Or is it just a given that on crap-hole planets like Tatooine, that lawlessness ruled and anything can happen?

Again, this is a high level question regarding the “Star Wars” universe in general; not specific to any era… Imperial or otherwise.

Looking for an answer with clear references; canon or “Legends” please. No armchair speculation please.

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    Well, Han was tried for murdering Greedo in The Emperor’s Court. He even attempted to present the Special Edition footage as evidence to show that he fired in self-defense (which was thrown out for being obviously faked). Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 2:30
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    "if the Empire is in control (...), is murder still considered a crime?" For what it is worth, there are still laws in a dictatorship. You may get free pass and privileges if you are close to powerful people though.
    – Taladris
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 2:42
  • Given that Mos Eisley is known for being a "hive of scum and villainy," I doubt that it's altogether uncommon for people to get murdered there, regardless of whether it's illegal or not. Also, Han was a smuggler and a scoundrel. Devilishly handsome though he may be, I don't get the impression that obeying the law is a high priority for him. Thus, his killing Greedo in that cantina is probably not a good example when trying to decide if murder is a crime.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:32
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    To be fair, we don't even know if murder is a crime in our actual universe. We just know it's a crime on Earth.
    – Misha R
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 23:21
  • Think of the beginning of Star Wars as a Western. If everybody was human, the Mos Eisley scenes would fit that genre.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 3:51

2 Answers 2


There is an episode of Clone Wars, Senate Murders, which revolves around the murder of a senator and the subsequent police investigation and arrest. This implies that murder is a crime on Coruscant, at least. However, we only see the culprit being arrested, and have no idea what the penalty is.

Interestingly, murder seems to be a "crime" even on Tatooine. There is a Marvel comic story, Star Wars 3: Skywalker Strikes, Part III, which involves a conversation between a pair of criminals hiding a body to avoid paying a "murder tax" to Jabba the Hutt. Obviously, this is much less of an impost than being incarcerated.

Other than that, there doesn't seem to be all that much in the way of murder happening in canon or even legends - unsurprising, given so much focus on the Galactic Civil War and the Rebellion and all.

  • "Obviously, this is much less of an imposte" Did another language sneak in there? Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 3:04

It depends on the planet or system

The events mentioned in the question happen on Tatooine, which is not governed by The Empire (nor was it governed by the Republic). In Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn notes that the Republic law does not work here, only the Hutts.

On Tatooine, (and some other remote worlds), there is no government and no law. The Hutts are effectively overlords of the realm, and they rule to their liking, with no formal law governing their judgement.

In this example, it is likely that Han Solo would be condemned, as he shot Jabba's henchman. Greedo, if he had survived the encounter, would likely be spared of justice, for the same reason.

On Republic controlled worlds, there was a code of laws and certainly, murder would be punished severely. However, with The Empire, a murder committed by an Imperial officer is not a murder.


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