PNG says executions will go ahead this year
PNG's Justice Minister says the death penalty will be implemented this year, despite vocal opposition from human rights groups.
Papua New Guinea's Justice Minister says the execution of 13 people currently on death row will happen this year, despite vocal opposition from human rights groups.
Members of the country's Constitutional Law Reform Commission have recently returned from a tour to see how executions are carried out across the world.
Jamie Tahana reports.
Our correspondent in Papua New Guinea, Todagia Kelola, says that when Parliament resurrected the death penalty last year after a spate of sorcery-related killings and other violent crime, five methods of execution were written in: Lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, deprivation of oxygen and hanging. He says the Constitutional Law Reform Commission has recently been touring countries including the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia to try and decide which one of those options is the best.
"They basically went and checked out the death penalties and [saw] which one is the most appropriate one for Papua New Guinea to use."
Todagia Kelola says the commission is working on recommendations for their preferred method, and those will be given to the National Executive Council for it to decide.
"It just depends on cabinet. Once cabinet agrees on the method then they take it to parliament and parliament agrees and then a facility will be constructed for those who have been sentenced to death."
The decision to reintroduce the death penalty was met with a wave of condemnation last year from groups such as Amnesty International, the European Union and the United Nations, and as recently as last week the law change was condemned by Human Rights Watch. The justice minister, Kerenga Kua, says the government is studying its options very carefully because it's dealing with human lives and wants to execute humanely. But he says the threat of execution is already having an effect on violent crime rates.
"We have a serious law and order problem. So far, nobody has come up with an effective solution. My invitation to those critics is this: We have a problem that is internationally understood. Rather than criticise, give me a workable solution that I can adopt and then I can be encouraged to abandon this pathway we are taking.
Kerenga Kua says the government can always readjust its position after seeing how effective the death penalty is.
"As I have always said, nothing is cast in concrete and we can always adjust our position down the track after we see how effective or ineffective this process is. But we've got to be given the opportunity to try it out."
Kerenga Kua says the 13 people currently sitting on death row have committed horrendous crimes, including one who slaughtered his family in a premeditated attack.
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