Death penalty policy being drawn up in PNG
A policy framework for the death penalty is being drafted in Papua New Guinea.
Policy-makers in Papua New Guinea are drawing up a framework on how the death penalty might work there, which will soon be submitted to Cabinet for discussion.
The justice minister, Kerenga Kua, says once the policy is written up, members of government will debate the details.
He says the government will have the final say on which execution method will be used - lethal injection, firing squad, deprivation of oxygen, hanging, or electrocution.
Mr Kua says it will choose which method is used by what the public wants, resources available and the need to use the most humane method that preserves human dignity.
KERENGA KUA: As we all know it is a very serious matter and whilst we are keen to achieve an outcome within the shortest timeframe possible, we do not wish to rush into it also. Our team is sitting down and considering all the methods available and the resources available to the state, and the technology, and the skills and all of these things we will need to canvas in dealing with post-implementation issues.
MARY BAINES: I understand members of the government recently toured a number of countries to see how executions are carried out elsewhere, and a number of options for PNG were being discussed - lethal injection, firing squad, deprivation of oxygen, hanging, electrocution - so you haven't decided yet which method will be used?
KK: We haven't decided yet. The bureaucrats will have to just set up the infrastructure, but before the actual implementation the cabinet will have to endorse the particular means that is to be used.
MB: There has been quite a lot of opposition on the introduction of the death penalty. Why do you think that it's so important it is introduced to PNG?
KK: We have received a lot of dissenting views from foreign governments which in this country we regard as our development partners, and also from human rights groups around the world. We respect their views, but the state is in its own sovereign right determined to go ahead with this process. What I feel at the moment is that simply because of the fact we have generated a lot of debate on the matter in the public forum and created a lot of awareness, I believe that we have prevented a lot of gruesome crimes already, and I'm sure that a lot of lives have already been saved throughout the nation. We will drive a message that this nation is very serious. It is up to its neck fed up with violent, gruesome crimes already and is prepared to stand up for itself and the majority of the law abiding citizens. I'm definitely certain that a lot of would-be criminals would be deterred by it. But the situation does not lend itself to measurement by a ruler, or by a microscope, or by whatever measure you want to use, this is one of those situations on this planet where you just have to go by your judgmental call.
MB: I understand there are 13 prisoners on death row at the moment...
MB: Is there any idea when the first execution might be?
KK: I have no timetable at the moment. It is not possible knowledge, nor is it desirable for me to give you a timetable.
MB: But those prisoners have exhausted all avenues of appealing their sentences now?
KK: Yes they have. Some of them have been on death row for more than a decade.
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