Updated: 11/22/2013 10:11 | By Agence France-Presse

PNG committed to death penalty

Enforcing the death penalty is a "necessary pathway" for Papua New Guinea's government to reduce crime, Justice Minister Kerenga Kua said in reports on Friday.


PNG committed to death penalty

In this file photo, Pailu 'The Hunter' is seen guarding the entrance to the feared Koboni (meaning: invisible spirit; devil) 'raskol' gang's safehouse in the squalid shanty town of Kaugere in Port Moresby, on August 19, 2004

Kua, who is also the Pacific nation's attorney-general, shrugged off criticism of the revival of long-dormant capital punishment, saying it was a priority for the Pacific nation if it was serious about reducing rampant crime.

"I maintain that it is the government's position that this was necessary pathway that we had to follow if we were serious about minimising law and order problems in the country," The National quoted Kua as saying.

Kua added the legislation was only directed at a small group of people and that the "mainstream of society did not need to be too concerned about the implications of the death penalty".

"If implemented properly, it should add to creating a more orderly and peaceful society that our people will enjoy," he said.

Papua New Guinea moved to revive the death penalty in May when parliament passed laws allowing execution by a range of methods, including hanging, electrocution, lethal injection, and firing squad.

The country has not carried out an execution since 1954, and inscribed the de facto moratorium into law in 1970, while keeping the death penalty on the statutes for crimes such as treason and piracy.

But parliament voted earlier this year to extend the long-dormant death penalty to cover rape, robbery and murder, drawing criticism from rights advocates around the world.

"I assure the people of PNG that we will not waver from implementing the death penalty," Kua told the house, the Post-Courier newspaper reported.

He added that a delegation had travelled abroad including to the US state of Texas, Thailand and Indonesia, to better understand how to implement the legislation.

Kua said a report from the trip had been compiled and he would assure the people of PNG "that we will be passing legislation for the extreme penalty's usage soon".

Crime in PNG is rampant, including in the capital Port Moresby where in June four Chinese nationals were hacked to death, with one reportedly beheaded and the others dismembered.

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