6000 sorcery cases but not one prosecution made


OF more than 6000 sorcery-related violence cases over the past four years, not a single prosecution was successful, a meeting between the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) and its stakeholders was told yesterday.
DJAG Secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe told the sorcery national action plan committee meeting in Port Moresby that since the enactment of the Sorcery Act four years ago, no one has been prosecuted.
“I’m hoping that we can secure a conviction and announce to the whole world that this is what we have done so far,” Kalinoe said.
“It is four years now after the law came to existence. We are still waiting for the conviction but the challenges are great as you all have said.”
According to Oxfam, almost for a quarter of the 6000-plus cases (2013 -2016), it provided refuge accommodation and repatriation.
Head of police in Chimbu, Enga and Southern Highlands and the Catholic Church provided their statistics and said witnesses were not willing to testify which made prosecution difficult.
Enga provincial police commander Assistant Superintendent Epenes Nili called on DJAG to look into developing laws that could protect police and agencies.
Triibal Foundation director operations Ruth Kissam shared her experience, saying witnesses in a case she assisted were reluctant to testify which saw the case stuck out, resulting in the defendant filing a fresh case against her and others.
“Lack of witness protection is something that we should take into account,” Kissam said
DGAG lawyer Serrena Sasingian said the challenge was taken note of for the next course of action. Some of the challenges included logistics, proper coordination, communication breakdown and remoteness.