Capital punishment to be soon implemented in PNG
By Fr. Giorgio Licini PIME
08 AUG 2013. Death sentences will really soon be carried out in Papua New Guinea. This was confirmed this morning at a Symposium on Capital and Corporal Punishment at Divine Word University in Madang by Justice Minister and Attorney General Kerenga Kua and the Secretary of the Department Lawrence Kalinoe. A technical team is travelling at this moment outside the country to Texas, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to acquire know-how on the practice and technical procedures. The PNG national Parliament voted in May this on four possible options for the implementation of the death penalty: lethal injection, oxygen deprivation, hanging and firing squad. It is believed that the PNG option will likely fall on the lethal injection as the least “inhumane” and most commonly practiced procedure in developed countries that still uphold the death penalty.
The two government representatives were adamant in their support for current laws and the actual implementation of them. The death penalty has been in the PNG criminal code since independence in 1975 for the crimes of treason, sea piracy and willful murder but has never been carried out. Last May the Parliament also legislated for aggravated rape, sorcery related killings and armed robbery to be added to the crimes liable of death penalty.
DWU students and staff present at the Symposium, along with other panel members such as former Justice Secretary and Atty. General Amet Arnold and psychologist Br. Hough expressed serious reservations about the reliability of the justice system, the real deterrence effects of the death penalty and the fact that it will be probably applied only to the poor and uneducated offenders. But Kua and Kalinoe reiterated the fact that the government’s decision it is really to implement the law as it is and as it reads.