23 January 2022 :
The National Parliament of Papua New Guinea announced on 20 January 2022 the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes in the country, 30 years after its reintroduction.
“The history of the death penalty in Papua New Guinea has been problematic,” Papua New Guinea Justice Minister Bryan Kramer said, reported by local media.
Capital punishment was introduced in Papua New Guinea in 1907 but was abolished in 1974. Despite its reinstatement in 1991, the last execution in the country dates back to 1954.
A total of 11 bills were passed by the National Parliament in the last two days.
Six of them were introduced by Justice Minister Bryan Kramer. While presenting the bill before the parliament, he said the court had sentenced 14 prisoners to death, but the state failed to execute them and they remained in custody for a very long time.
According to Kramer, the abolition is partly due to the lack of a “basic infrastructure” and methods to apply it. “No government was able to finalize the necessary preparations, such as the method of the execution, the acquisition of the facilities to carry out the executions and the training of the personnel to carry them out,” he added.
The Papuan government previously approved an amendment to the Penal Code Act to allow “more flexibility” when choosing the method of execution and ordered an evaluation of its application in other countries in 2013, where recommendations were listed for the implementation of capital punishment through hanging, lethal injection or firing squad. However, according to Kramer, the Executive did not decide on any of the suggested methods.
“As such, the government does not have an administrative mechanism and the infrastructure to apply the death penalty,” he concluded.
All those prisoners who were on death row will now have to face life imprisonment rather than capital punishment. The penalty for criminal acts like willful murder, aggravated rape, robbery with violence, treason, piracy in the country is life imprisonment without parole or parole after 30 years.
In Parliament, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape said the death penalty had "been in our laws for many years, but consistent with other global trends and studies, it is not an effective deterrent to serious crime and offenses," reported The Guardian.
Highlighting Christian values, Marape said, "For us as a Christian nation, in my view, the notion of "thou shall not kill" still prevails." He further said, "God should be the judge. Instead of the death penalty, offenders will serve a life sentence without parole. I think this is better."