Govt to amend law and repeal death penalty

Main Stories

JUSTICE Minister Bryan Kramer says the Government has given notice to table amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1984 to repeal the death penalty.
In a statement yesterday, Kramer said Cabinet made the decision to amend the Act to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment.
“The decision to repeal the death penalty was based on a number of factors and was made with due consideration and consultation with key stakeholders,” he said.
“The history of the death penalty in Papua New Guinea has been problematic.
“The death penalty was first introduced in the territory of Papua in 1907 and the last execution was carried out in 1954.
“It was later abolished in 1974 prior to Independence in 1975.
“Despite being reintroduced in 1991, the death penalty has never been properly implemented.
“No government was able to finalise necessary arrangements such as the method of execution, procurement of facilities to perform executions and training of staff to perform executions.
“Without these essential infrastructure, it was impossible to implement the death penalty and its executions.”
Kramer said the courts, had to date, sentenced nine prisoners to death, however, none had been executed.
“Some have died in death row and two other cases were overturned by the Supreme Court on grounds that there was an error in the exercise of sentencing the death penalty,” he said.
“The (sentences) were substituted with life imprisonment.”
In 2013, the National Executive Council tasked the chief secretary to inquire into the feasibility of implementing the death penalty.
A technical team comprising government agencies went on a fact-finding tour of the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The team produced a report titled “Implementing the Death Penalty in Papua New Guinea”.
The National Executive Council subsequently approved guidelines for the implementation of the death penalty, however, no further action was taken to execute the death penalty.