Monday, February 02, 2009

Sorcery Act lacks bite: Law agencies


TWO legal organisations in the country have pointed out that there is no effective enforcement of the Sorcery Act 1991, resulting in a good number of people brutally murdered in sorcery-related cases, The National reports.

The Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) and the Public Prosecutor’s office made this known following the brutal killing of a 40-year-old man in Eastern Highlands province for alleged sorcery practices.

CLRC chairman Joe Mek Teine and acting Public Prosecutor Jack Pambel separately said there was a need to immediately review and amend the Act.

“Sorcery accusations and killings is a very serious issue facing our society, where innocent lives have been lost.

“Reviewing the Sorcery Act is on the agenda of my commission,” Mr Mek Teine, who is also Kundiawa-Gembogl MP, said.

He said sorcery-related killings were not serious in the colonial days, however, sorcery accusations and killings had become worse today.

“The situation warrants us to immediately make amendments to the Sorcery Act and implement it,” Mr Mek Teine said.

Mr Pambel said there was no effective implementation of the Sorcery Act.

“Whether the Act is being implemented or not is a question that has to be looked at,” he said.

Revisiting the Sorcery Act was a major topic at a workshop Mr Pambel conducted in Goroka last Friday.

It is understood that the ministerial committee on law and order, chaired by Attorney-General Dr Allan Marat, has sorcery-related killings as one of the eight major issues to be looked at.

Meanwhile, Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Supt Teddy Tei yesterday said police would investigate the killing of the 40-year-old man at Lampo village in Unggai-Bena district last week.

The man was allegedly chopped to death after a kangaroo court found him guilty of sorcery. 


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