THE 13 people on death row in Papua New Guinea are expected to be executed this year after PNG Cabinet endorsed the proposed guidelines for the implementation of death penalty, it has been revealed.
Secretary for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General Dr Lawrence Kalinoe told The National yesterday Cabinet had approved the establishment of an inter-agency committee to see its implementation.
Kalinoe said the 13 people on death row had less than a year to live because the Government was adamant on implementing death penalty this year. “The committee will facilitate the implementation of death penalty by this year,” Kalinoe said.
He said the 13 people had exhausted all appeal and constitutional review processes, plus the plea for clemency. He said the death penalty would now be administered. The committee comprises the Departments of Justice and Attorney-General, Correctional Service, Police, Health, Community Development, National Planning and Monitoring, and the National Judiciary Staff Service.
Cabinet approved the guidelines for the three modes of punishment – death by hanging, administration of anaesthetics followed by injection, and death by firing squad.
The Government had earlier announced that facilities for the implementation of the death penalty were likely to be built at Bomana in the National Capital District.
Kalinoe said critics of the death penalty had been claiming that the punishment was barbaric and not Christian in nature.
But he said the Government was convinced that when the death penalty was implemented fully, “it would send out a strong deterrence warning to citizens of this country not to commit crimes that would likely attract the mandatory death sentences”. “The issue of death penalty has been evading us for some time now. It is one of the important issues of government,” Kalinoe said.
He pointed out that the death penalty was being implemented in the most sophisticated countries such as the United States of America.
He said some people hid behind “human rights” to criticise the Government about the death penalty.
He said they should realise that the offender never considered his or victim’s “human rights” before killing him or her.
“An accused person’s human rights are considered from the point of arrest to his sentencing in court.
“That person can even appeal for clemency or pardon. So when you look at it, the accused was accorded his human rights compared to the person he killed,” Kalinoe said.
He said there is no issue of illegality as death is a penalty prescribed by the Criminal Code Act Chapter 262 and is therefore sanctioned by Section 35 (1) of the Constitution and allowed under section 289 of the Criminal Code Act.