13 Jan 2009

Sorcery-related killings in PNG prompt new laws

3:24 pm on 13 January 2009

An increase in the number of sorcery-related murders in Papua New Guinea over the past year has prompted the government to draft new laws to curb the number of witchcraft killings.

More than 50 people have been killed in sorcery-related murders in two Highlands provinces.

PNG's Constitutional Review and Law Reform Commission has been asked to come up with new laws.

The Commission's chairman, Joe Mek Teine says with sorcery-related murders being reported every week, something needs to be done.

He says the commission will consult communities first.

"People are using sorcery sometimes as an excuse to kill people that they hate or for some other reasons. We've got the criminal law - the criminal law is there. But when an accused person goes to court and one of his defence is the defence of sorcery, then sometimes, sentence - even though he may be found guilty - his sentence is mitigated. Now that's something we're going to look at."

Joe Mek Taine, the chairman of PNG's Constitutional and Law Reform Commission.