Melanesian women share peace experiences
Keith’s intimate travel diary 7 – Incident in Salalah

To execute or not to execute, now there’s a question


IT HAS BEEN A ROBUST debate in Papua New Guinea these recent days about prime minister O'Neill's proposals to get tough on crime and enforce the death penalty (which I'm not sure he is serious about).

I don't doubt there is massive community feeling about getting tough on rapists, child abusers, wanton killers and bank robbers.

I am heartened by the response of the Catholic Church and Martyn Namorong’s view that "the government plans to crack down on violence by perpetrating it themselves”.

And the sorcery legislation definitely needs revising, as it seems to give something of a legal justification for lynch behaviour targeting so-called 'sorcerers'.

But I ask Papua New Guineans to think twice before considering enforcing the death penalty.

 1. Does the death penalty deter murder?

Well no, according to experts.

"Eighty-eight per cent of the country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide, according to a new study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and authored by Professor Michael Radelet, Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Traci Lacock, also at Boulder."

And consider the first-hand experience of Albert Pierrepoint, probably the most prolific executioner in British history, with over 400 deaths to his 'credit'. In his autobiography he said...

"It is said to be a deterrent. I cannot agree. There have been murders since the beginning of time, and we shall go on looking for deterrents until the end of time. If death were a deterrent, I might be expected to know. It is I who have faced them last, young men and girls, working men, grandmothers.

“I have been amazed to see the courage with which they take that walk into the unknown. It did not deter them then, and it had not deterred them when they committed what they were convicted for. All the men and women whom I have faced at that final moment convince me that in what I have done I have not prevented a single murder."

2. Is it punishment or vengeance?

Here's an editorial from The Hindu newspaper...

"In case after case, the course of criminal justice has been shaped by public anger and special-interest lobbying. Indians must remember the foundational principle of our Republic, the guardian of all our rights and freedoms, isn't popular sentiment: it is justice, which in turn is based on the consistent application of principles."

3. Is it Christian?

Not according to Christ.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Repay no one evil for evil... do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I Will repay," says the Lord." Rom. 12:14, 17, 19

""But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Mat. 6:15

4. Is it effective?

No, according to US statistics.

5. Is it moral to allow the State - and thus our community and by proxy ourselves - to carry out judicial killings?

This is the question we must all ask ourselves. Do you really want to sink to the same level as those who commit murder?

6. If you agree with the death penalty, are you prepared to carry it out?

Perhaps the PNGDF said yes in Bougainville. Do you really want to go there again?

7. Are innocent people executed for crimes they did not commit?


"Newly-available DNA evidence has allowed the exoneration and release of more than 15 death row inmates since 1992 in the United States, but DNA evidence is available in only a fraction of capital cases.

“Others have been released on the basis of weak cases against them, sometimes involving prosecutorial misconduct; resulting in acquittal at retrial, charges dropped, or innocence-based pardons.

“The Death Penalty Information Center (US) has published a list of 8 inmates ‘executed but possibly innocent’. At least 39 executions are claimed to have been carried out in the U.S. in the face of evidence of innocence or serious doubt about guilt.

“In the UK, reviews prompted by the Criminal Cases Review Commission have resulted in one pardon and three exonerations for people executed between 1950 and 1953 (when the execution rate in England and Wales averaged 17 per year), with compensation being paid."


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Monica Jean George

We call ourselves Christians, yet we hold on to our culture for it is a virtue, an original piece of heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation.

So we are caught in the middle,which direction should we turn, which solution?

Therefore do not blindly implement laws that even the lawmakers are pretty doubtful about.

Robin Lillicrapp

So, personal preferences aside, concerning death or no death penalty, is it a moot point to consider a reform of present practice - to reformulate a judicial philosophy that better accommodates PNG economics?

Is it also a leadership reflection point to reconsider the contractual obligations in large loan/ major projects to better serve the vocational interests of PNG workers vs foreign labour?

Is there a viable link between income earning capacity and social outcomes?

Does the control and oversight of National projects by Waigani allow the optimum balance of resource/revenue to flow unimpeded to the regions to foster more localised development?

All of the above held in context with the core topic of this thread.

Marcus Mapen

Peter - Poor, disabled, unempowered, young, old, fragile and weak - yes. But never criminals, otherwise society is doomed.

Peter Kranz

Marcus - because societies are judged on their treatment of the poor, disabled, unempowered and criminals.

Marcus Mapen

Gentlemen – Here we go again.

Correct me if I'm wrong but according to 2010 world figures, about 384,000 people are being born into the world every day and 156,000 pass on (to God knows where). That is an increase of 229,000 people in this world daily.

In PNG more than 400 people are being born daily compared to less than 120 deaths per day (CIA world fact book). That is a net gain of 280 per day.

Now my question, why are we spending so much time talking about a few (may be less than 20) lousy, unworthy, human scum when we should be talking about how to improve the quality of life of the innocent and deserving majority who suffer at the hands of these half humans.

John Fowke

In the event that Robin Lillicrap believes that I would consider, let alone relish, a return to PNG to administer or oversee draconian punishments, he like another recent contributor didn't absorb what I wrote. And like that person, he was indulging his sense of humour.

I should add that the minute amount of what so many call "Kiaping" that I did was so long ago and for such a short period that it doesn't qualify me to be put up, even as a character-actor in an erudite chaps' jokes about old “Kiap fogies.” I am of course an old fogie, and often a curmudgeonly one, but not one known for my "Kiaping."

As for Bob Cleland, he is very much one of the kiaps whose service is remembered with apparent reverence and certainly with approbation by PNG Attitude contributors who have commented following his various contributions and reminiscences. A very favourable memory is present of what quite young people call “Admin taim bipo”- widespread among the majority of PNG’s citizens, in my personal experience.

My own point was entirely pragmatic and offered as a recommendation for consideration of massive cost to society of life-long imprisonment.

I said that this practice, far from being a humane one, is inhumane both to the person detained-( not that that matters, but it is true nonetheless)- and to our civil society where increasing stress on resources is occurring as we all live longer thanks to expensive but more and more-effective life-prolonging medical technology.

Our modern response to citizens in real need is more important than feeding, housing and guarding the health of those who have by their own proven acts exited from membership in society.

There. I’ve spelt it out in simple terms. Recall Bill Clinton’s "the economy stupid!" Punishment is not the point. Punishment doesn’t deter psychopaths who pre-plan rape and murder and violent harm to others.

I do not worship at the altar of any supernatural arbiter of human behaviour, simply believing that we live our only life in a heaven or a hell according to our own behaviour and our luck.

The wisest philosophical statement I have ever heard is to the effect that “Chance is but another name for God.” Search the universe for an answer. And then begin searching all the other universes. Somewhere out there lives God. But he/she/it will not know you any better than a single grain of sand on Ela Beach.

Robin Lillicrapp

It would be interesting to foray into the "deep-South" old style chaingang - only PNG style.

As it seems the regulators are willing to let in foreign labour to conduct road rebuilding programs, resource processing etc, maybe the costs of doing so should be offset against non-productive prison maintenance.

Profile or catch some worthy criminal types, and train them up to do required tasks and sentence them to a penal apprenticeship / servitude.

Install the ageless John Fowke and Bob Cleland, and a few other stalwarts as overseers (21st century Kiaps) and completely rejig the national application of justice principles to better meet the cultural sympathies of a people ignorant of or opposed to UN agendas et al.

I would be suspicious of allowing a top-down application of capital punishment in the hands of the existing not-so-well regulated admin oversight before trying a more bottom-up methodology.

If PNGeans are already ticked off with corruption now, putting additional powers of deterrence in the hands of an "untrustworthy" leadership may invite even more strife.

Localising the solutions, and allowing capital projects to be administered regionally albeit under the national oversight of Government / courts etc might open up channels of creativity and hopefulness to otherwise marginalised regional authourities.

The contracts that are now negotiated or are being negotiated involving the borrowing of billions should be redesigned to allow for the utilisation of to-be-trained PNGeans.

If Panguna is to be reopened, let the locals be trained up by BCL to be able to do the lions share of the work.

Oh well; one can dream a little.

Peter K, you young raskol, re-enter the fray.

Leonard, line up the literary cannons and train them upon the subject.

The Issue has only begun.

Peter Kranz

I admit I am conflicted myself. I find it impossible to find any humane feelings for the man who was found to have killed his two year old son and eaten his brains (Hagen, news reports. But maybe the sick, evil bugger was just wrong in the head?)

And if an armed intruder burst into our house and threatened to kill my wife and child I would have no hesitation in killing that person to prevent this.

But if one innocent person is executed for a crime they did not commit, then is it worth the price? Put yourself in that person's shoes.

And if after some reflection you realise that 'a life for a life' is not a good principle on which to base your beliefs, then consider Abraham and Isaac (which I think is symbolic of God rejecting this as a moral principle); and perhaps better still consider the sermon on the mount. Christ said 'forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

Easy to repeat, but difficult to practice.

There are no easy answers.

I retire from the fray.

Peter Kranz

Please note - I did not state an opinion on the death penalty, merely asked some questions and gave some facts that need to be considered (which can be readily checked).

It's up to the good people of PNG to decide for themselves.

Marcus Mapen

I believe in a government that makes decisions that are in the best interest of the country. Decisions made to protect the bulk of its people, even if it means sacrifice. We all know that there can be no gain without sacrifice.

The UN & NGOs can have their own agendas and interests, but it is the interest of this nation and its people that matter. The world may be fast becoming a global village but it is culturally and economically very diverse and will remain that way for a very long time.

Apart from the literal pain, suffering, fear and loss inflicted on innocent people, crime has been (and is) a very major hindrance to progress and development (both social and economic) in PNG for a very long time. In PNG the nature of the crimes is getting worse with time.

We have to stop talking and actually try to do something about it, and one of these direct (as opposed to philosophical) solutions that need to be tried is capital punishment.

Increasing the police force significantly (as suggested by someone earlier) is another good idea (will provide employment as well), but this may not have the desired effect, if we continue to have revolving prison doors.

On the issue of whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not, it may or may not be is something we will only find out when we implement it here in PNG.

Let me end by saying that ‘we need to weed out our gardens so that the food crops will be given a chance to grow and produce. If we continue to ignore, the weeds will overgrow and suffocate the crops.

Phil Fitzpatrick

Apart from the fact that the death penalty tends to become a class-based weapon, witness George W Bush in Texas using it to keep black and hispanic minorities in line, it also presents some unique problems in PNG.

Of all the horrific crimes recently reported the burning of alleged witches in the highlands comes to mind.

If you could separate the actual people responsible from the larger mob and successfully convict them who is going to do the actual hanging? And where would it be done? Presumably if you want it to be a practical deterrent it should be done in public.

Then what do you do to protect the hangman (or hangwoman) from payback, not to mention witnesses at the trial?

Public hangings drew large crowds in pre-war days. Maybe they could become another tourist attraction. Land of the really unexpected!

You could also organise public amputations of hands for convicted thieves too. And maybe whippings for adulterers. The list is endless if O'Neill wants to get creative.

Leonard Roka

Law enforcement is fun to criminals. They know going to jail for a few month is good. Thus we have not helped so much.

The death penalty for corruption, rape, murder, drugs and pornography is the way to go since, at the political level, leaders are not prepared to do away with the status quo.

Religious teaching is best in society where people are free and the rate and seriousness of crime is minimal.

Mrs Barbara Short

I suggest the PNG people have a look at what happens in Indonesia these days.

We have numerous Australian drug smugglers in Indonesian gaols. Some have been given the Death Sentence but they have become very sorry for their sins and seem to be working to help the Indonesian prison guards.

There are numerous appeals so hopefully their Death Sentence may be changed to so many years in gaol.

The threat of death seems to have brought them to their senses, they have repented of their crimes and become changed people.

I think a few of the Indonesians who made the bombs and blew up the cafes in Bali and killed many people have been caught but they have not repented so they have the Death Penalty and this has been carried out in some cases.

I suggest PNG increase the size of its Police Force, for starters. We know that some states in the US have the Death Penalty but there is still plenty of crime in the US.

Peter Kranz

Sorry - but merely repeating that murderers and rapists are animals and deserve to die doe not answer any of my original questions.

The one argument that does is that it's a lot cheaper to kill someone rather than lock them up for life. So what price are we willing to put on a human life?

One Melanesian solution might be to require the village or community where an offender comes from to deal with him/her themselves, as their community could be seen as partly responsible for environment in which such a person grew up.

A village court, a village judgement and a village responsibility for punishment. But are we prepared to accept the abuses that would sometimes occur?

Kristian Lasslett

An interesting discussion. From a sentencing perspective there is very little evidence to support the death penalty's deterrent effect; in fact, from memory some states in the US which introduced the death penalty witnessed a rise in violent crime.

There is a moral argument to be made for it. Retribution or just deserts is about communicating censure through proportionate punishment, so I suppose this leaves open a window for the death penalty.

But I always find point 7 of Peter's argument most compelling. Moral arguments can't be won in any black and white sense, but we know from the experience of a range of jurisdictions that innocent people get put to death.

If there is a high risk innocent people are going to be killed by the state, then it would seem better to err on the side of caution and use an alternative proportionate means for censuring individuals.

Robin Lillicrapp

The world we once knew is being stood upon its head.

Tomorrow's laws are being forged today through dialectic process.

Yesterday's right is tomorrow's wrong.

The affairs of nations are increasingly subject to global constraints designed to homogenise, and unify a conformist citizenry; to make of them, a global village.

In practice, this creates monumental divides between populous accustomed to their borders, resources and culture being protected, and those whose world views are in line with the UN agendas being pushed through modern politics and economics.

This thread, contentious as it may be, is a provocation to sound thinking arising from realisations emerging from minds being applied to the issues past, present, and future.

Paul Oates

There are certainly some very cogent reasons why it would be simpler and far less expensive to operate the death penalty that is already on the PNG books.

There doesn't need to be new laws so why is there to be a debate? Surely that's just window dressing to cover up the inadequacy of the current lack of law and order?

I understand and accept the economic reasons behind John's position and I accept David's view that something must be done now without further delay.

I suggest however that the evidence in the US and elsewhere where legal executions are commonplace does not stop the problems from reoccurring.

Therefore some cooler heads need to determine what actions will stop these crimes from being committed or at least reduce the incidence of them.

Anyone who has suffered from an intentional criminal act will rightly feel they want to exact retribution. Will that retribution, should it be allowed as it is in some countries, cause the perpetrator to simply be reduced the same level as the original criminal?

However, given that this is a matter for PNG people to consider, perhaps those of us on the outside need to take a few deep breaths?

John Fowke

Its not a matter of morals or ethics. Its plain common sense.

Once an accused and convicted murderer or multiple rapist or multiple pedophile offender has served ten years and has been offered State resources to appeal and to prove his/her innocence and fails to do so they are then correctly classified as a piece of rubbish of no further use to an ethical, moral and mostly-peaceful nation.

Now they should sensibly and pragmatically be disposed of in a humane manner to eliminate them just as one throws away a piece of stinking, rotten kaukau.

Thus the taxpayer is no longer exposed to the need to pay a large sum each year to keep these ex-human-beings in relative comfort and good health until nature takes its inevitable toll.

It's the economy, stupid. It's just plain common sense when safeguards are provided to make as sure as possible that innocent people are allowed to live.

Steve Gallagher

Implement the death penalty for murderers and rapists and increase penalties on other crimes. The more time we take to execute the death penalty law, we can expect more and more rapes and murders of innocent people.

It is not right to put your citizens' lives in danger by not executing the laws that are realistically necessary to protect them.

It is not just and fair to take another innocent person's life or deprive him or her of his rights and freedom. It is right and fair to treat the person the same way he treated you.

After all, all humans have brains to think and act, and everyone has feelings.

If the death penlaty is implemented I think people will fear to do the crimes to risk their own lives. Currently, people take advantage of our softer laws.

Ian Fraser

So 'rapists' & 'murderers' confer before a crime to work out the likely penalty... And conclude, "Hey, some years in Bomana, that's not so bad!".

I don't think so. They're not thinking about eventual consequences: it's not like commercial or business crime.

They're not thinking much at all. The only rational calculation they'll make concerns the chances of getting caught. Why worry about the penalty if you know you probably won't even face trial?

The police miss most crimes. Fix that, and not only will we not need absurdly draconian punishment, but we'll cut down on police bashings too; that's partly down to police frustration, no?

Robin Lillicrapp

I guess some of the lessons we learned from the outcome-based education thread might stand to show us, in part, that the moral declension arising from social engineering is very robust in its outcomes.

Societies everywhere grapple with how to deal with the human condition.

PNG is willing to advocate death penalties for capital crimes but not forsake the exploitation of "everyman's" futures allowing PMIZ's to fragment the notion of jobs for locals etc. Isn't that a crime of capital nature?

Perhaps when individuals cease to believe in the sanctity of life from a point of fear/reverence for law and order they also take unto themselves the province of arbitrating right from wrong as a purely subjective reasoning.

It's a rather god-like personal ambition with which no well regulated society can afford to put up with.

Marcus Mapen

I have more than 10 reasons why I think we should actually try implementing capital punishment but I’ll just give 4 here.

I believe wilful murderers and violent rapists do not have any right to exist in this world because their right to exist as normal human beings is surrendered the moment they knowingly choose to take another innocent human life in cold blood or violently rape someone.

Any person who commits such crimes is simply giving up their own right to exist.

Wilful murderers and violent rapists cannot be considered as part of human society as they do not think and act like other normal human beings. They are predators waiting for their unaware prey, nobody knows when or who they will attack.

Acts of rape and murder (more than any other crime) make our people live in constant fear and people’s rights to move and live freely are greatly restricted because of this fear.

Our prisons have not (and probably will not) keep prisoners secure for as long as required. As proven many times in the near past, there will always be breakouts and escapes regardless of whatever measures we put in place to prevent this from happening.

This puts the people at unnecessary risk. It is also an unnecessary waste of public resources and time, trying to recapture hardcore criminals.

Apart from this, I do not like the idea of PNG being compared to other (developed) countries. Whether capital punishment will or will not work is something we can only find out when we actually implement it here.

If people in this country are scared of executing murders and rapists, we can hire people from outside PNG, or send the condemned overseas to be executed. I bet we’ll be receiving 100s of applications.

Also, the argument that ‘PNG is a Christian country’ is not convincing for me, not only because a majority of us in PNG do not live out Christian principles but also because the origin of Christianity itself is full of violence.

The Christian bible records instances where God himself is supposed to have ordered (through his prophets) the extermination of other people (including children and animals) because they were thought to be a threat to the well-being of his chosen people.

What we are trying to do here is more justified than the mass extermination of innocent people (recorded in the bible).

David Kitchnoge

Playing the devil’s advocate here.

I do not disagree with everyone who is saying no to death penalty. And I understand and agree with your reasons for your resistance.

But do you honestly believe government services (health, education, etc) and government presence (police, kiap, etc) would improve sooner to help discourage violent crime?

If the answer is yes, then I'm happy to join you in opposing judicial killings.

But if the answer is no, then I would like to know what other more humane alternatives are available to arrest this worrying trend immediately?

Simply criticising politicians for lack of this or lack of that won’t stop a few morally corrupt people from continuing to commit terrible atrocities on the innocent and vulnerable people in this country.

Judicial killings might not stop violent crime completely, but it might just halt the tide until we get our acts together and start developing this country in the right way.

Francis Nii

Well researched argument PK. On the whole, crime is escalating and permeating every fabric of our society and fear is everywhere.

Even people's own homes are not safe any more. Thus something must be done about it.

There are several measures on the PM's agenda and death penalty is one of them. Not every criminal will face the death penalty.

But there are some criminals who really deserve the worst possible penalty. Why not let's give it a go and see the outcome?

Peter Kranz

Wow - I thought I'd open a hornet's nest. And Cygil I had the pleasure of hearing Mary Midgley when I was a mere student. Plus Fredrick Coplestone, a Catholic father and philosopher of great wisdom, who tried in vain to teach me few things.

I believe saying "Jesus is simply wrong here" is a pretty amazing argument, but good on you for having the guts to go so far.

My last resort is to quote Douglas Adams. "A few thousand years ago, someone got nailed to a tree for daring to suggest that it might be a good idea to be Nice to each other for a change."

Wakai wei.

Corney Korokan Alone

We have had enough lectures on what works and what doesn't - thanks to the democratic systems we have in place.

Whilst all manner of problem alleviation techniques and approaches are discussed at length, people are dying unnecessarily.

Implement the death penalty now. At least the first four ignorant ones who finds themselves lucky meet the ire of the government and the society in general will be a testament for every Papua New Guinean.

The sori sori na esi esi nonsense is not helping anyone at all. Bring on the death penalty.


There are surely some people who deserve to die for the crimes they have committed. However, do we trust the PNG justice system to be perfect enough to never execute an innocent person whether convicted mistakenly or malevolently?

Do we trust the politicians and bureaucrats of papua new guinea (and their wantoks) to never use the death penalty as a threat or a punishment to those whom they have a disagreement with?

The answer to these questions is no and no. We do not trust them. The political elite is rampantly corrupt and the use of threats, violence and coercion are common tactics used by the influential in this country as they jockey for more wealth and power.

The PNG legal system is somewhat more robust than the political class and retains more integrity than the big men in Waigani yet they are still nowhere near perfect, and perfection is what is required for a death penalty. For there is no undoing a mistaken death sentence.

The real problem is law and order is non existent. In many parts of png there is a complete absence of governance including but not limited to police presence.

Society is blighted by a rampantly corrupt, underfunded and apathetic police force that is inclined to do nothing about crime in general and crime against women in particular.

Combine this with a struggling education system that cant even extinguish backwards nonsense beliefs in rubbish like puri puri and the existence of witches and you have a recipe for anarchy.

Until now the tribal mentality was the only thing holding together society. Now with modernism and materialist sensibilities loosening the bonds of tribal duty there is not even that.

To introduce the death penalty in PNG would be a backwards step. We can not adress barbarism within our society by becoming even more barbaric ourselves. This is not the way forward our country.

Next time full name, please Alfred - KJ

Paul Oates

Considering the death penalty is just a lazy and easy way out of what is in reality a complex problem.

Any political leader who publically talks about the death penalty is revealing a deficit in understanding what the real issues actually are.

In PNG, law enforcement has become a recognised vacuum as far as resourcing, dedicated personnel and effective and responsive management are concerned. Since there are actually no real sides in PNG politics, all political leaders over the past few decades are equally responsible for this situation.

PNG has the lowest ratio of police to population in the Pacific and no real plans to improve what has been decades of ignoring how law and order have been allowed to get completely out of hand.

To say that the death penalty will fix the problem is a total 'cop out' or said more directly, leaving the cops out of the equation.

Perpetrators of violent crime usually have a huge number of varied reasons behind why they have committed the crime. Solid investigation and understanding why these crimes are committed would go a long way to prevent crime.

Executing criminals clearly does not fix the problem but only takes the heat off those politicians who want to take an ephemeral and not moral look at the problem and possibly excuse their own previous shortcomings.

Surely we have progressed sufficiently past the old days when the reason a violent crime was committed was often 'bel bilong mi hat na mi paitim em', or have we?

Let's now see the evidence of it.

Maureen Wari

Tenkyu tru for the time and effort lo raitim disla. Yu gutpla tambu.

At a time when our emotions are everywhere because we are women and we are sick and tired of our headlines and yet have to consider that we are educated, that we do lotu, that we are the face of PNG, it is difficult to think and put together something like your excellent discussion above, all in one page because the list of what we are up against is endless. Our complaints will outweigh our constructive ideas.

It seems easy to want to act first and think later yet who can argue further for short cut (feel the pain too!) penalties after reading your findings presented above and also those of Mr Namorong's in his most recent post on his blog.

With your article, we can reason.

Peter Kranz

There's a bit missing...

3. Is it Christian?

Not according to Christ.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Repay no one evil for evil... do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I Will repay," says the Lord." Rom. 12:14, 17, 19

""But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Mat. 6:15"

Cygil Glasper

It's rare that I get to put on my hat as a fully trained moral philosopher :)

Unfortunately this means I can't really contribute to this debate as I would have to write an essay to do justice to the issues you have raised. However, to shorten the debate:

I am not opposed to the intrinsic idea of death as a punishment. I accept that there is a class of people whose moral desert is death.

The evidence of extreme and genuine wickedness (I suggest Mary Midgely's book "Wickedness" on this topic, or any of Harold Schecter's profiles of famous criminal psychopaths) is too unrelenting.

Is the death vengeance? Yes, and I agree that Christ does counsel us against vengeance, but Jesus is simply wrong here.

There are some people so wicked that people are justified in wishing to rid the moral community of them, be it vengeance or otherwise. Jesus clearly never met an authentic criminal psychopath.

What I am definitely opposed to is death penalty /judicial systems/, which are arbitrary, unfair and hypocritical. I have zero confidence that PNG is up to the task of even American-level juridical standards for death penalty defendents.

Take the recently celebrated Jodi Arias trial in the US. The state has expended at least 1.4 million dollars US on her defense, to ensure her right to adequate counsel.

And the result will probably not even be a death penalty verdict, because I suspect the jury will balk at convicting a woman on the capital charge (even though her extreme sociopathic tendancies are obvious, there's still an extreme reluctance to execute a woman).

Is PNG up to expending millions of kina on a capital trial to ensure internationally required standards to adequate right to council? Of course not.

This is a populist proposal by O'Neill to paper over the fact that the rule of law is weak to nonexistent in most of PNG, and his police are corrupt and ineffective.

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