PAPUA New Guinea’s church leaders have condemned the government’s decision to implement the death penalty.
It has been revealed that some 13 people on death row in Papua New Guinea are expected to be executed this year after the Cabinet endorsed proposed guidelines for the death penalty.
Secretary of the Department of Justice, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, told the media that the government had approved the establishment of an inter-agency committee to oversee its implementation.
The announcement was received with hostility by the PNG Church Leaders Council.
"We believe that all human life is God-given and that no one, including the State, should take upon itself the right to end a life,” the Council said in a media statement
It added that there is also evidence proving that, even in the best processes of justice, mistakes sometimes happen. It is unthinkable that a potentially innocent person be condemned to death.
“As a Christian nation, we can never allow our justice system to sink to acts of revenge or payback,” the Council stated.
“We must not take the attitude of ‘an eye for an eye’ but rather maintain penalties that are appropriate for all crimes but do not include the death penalty.
“Incidents of serious crime have not decreased in countries that have adopted the death penalty.
“The possibility of the death penalty increases the possibility that the criminal will murder their victim to eliminate them as a witness.”