Stop accepting compo for crimes


WRONGDOERS should be held responsible for their actions and should have their day in court.
It is time to come up with laws stopping the payment of compensation to the family of the victims of family and sexual violence.
Compensation is becoming a common trend agreed upon by as a way of solving the issue outside of the justice system.
Compensation demands for the use of land, for the damage to state property on traditional land, for individuals hurt or affected by state actions in one way or another seem to be prevalent in these times.
Lately there has been compensations in cases involving violence against women and girls.
Our front page story yesterday carried the story of relatives of a Grade 8 student in Madang receiving compensation after she was allegedly raped by a Grade 12 student.
Police say the girl’s relatives and the alleged offender agreed to solve the matter out of court, with the understanding that the accused was a student.
That Grade 12 student is a threat to the society and to the female students and teachers of his school as he will be a boarding student.
About two years ago, the Human Rights Defender Association staged a peaceful march to Parliament asking the Government to put a stop to the traditional compensation system and to allow justice to be served for all women and girls who are victims of violence in the country.
We concur with the group.
Compensation, either in the form of money or pigs, is often paid to the victims’ families and perpetrators are free to remain within their communities, exposing survivors to the threat of repeated violence. Compensation should never be seen as pardoning of the offence by the victim or his or her family because justice has been undermined.
Let the offender go through the justice system and be punished accordingly.
The law should give victims the right to speak up and reject compensation payments and pursue their cases through the courts until the perpetrators are punished.
The support now should be for law enforcement agencies to discourage the use of compensation to avoid prosecution for serious criminal charges.
Looking at the other side of the coin, lack of access to the courts and police, as well as failure by many officials to take violence against women seriously, discourages victims from taking their case up.
This then forces people in rural areas to go for the traditional forms of justice to solve serious family and sexual violence cases.
Police should not close cases simply because the victim’s relatives had withdrawn their charges after being paid compensation.
All sexual offence cases should be referred to police and not dealt with elsewhere.
Those who entertain compensation and out-of-court settlements are as guilty as the offenders.
The danger here is that a murderer could possibly go unpunished if society deems compensation an acceptable form of justice.
We understand it is not easy dealing with traditional societies, but leaders should step up and be strong.
The Government should focus on using power to resolve such conflicts by taking a more proactive approach.
For progress to be made as a nation and as a people, the law should be the only bench mark by which we measure ourselves and by which order and peace is maintained.