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Police struggle for evidence in superstitious country

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, January 26, 2009) – The police in Papua New Guinea estimate that half of all murder cases in the past year were sorcery related.

The PNG Constitutional Review and Law Reform Commission is now consulting with communities over the need for better legislation around such killings.

PNG police spokesman superintendent Dominic Kakas says police are voicing their support of any initiative to try to curb the rising number of sorcery related murders in the country.

He says at the moment, sorcery related killings are difficult to prove, under the country’s current British Common Law system.

"The number of killings related to sorcery are quite high. And in fact, last April, prompted the commissioner Gari Baki to actually initiate moves to bring about a collective effort towards addressing this issue. Now he made a number of suggestions perhaps one would be to look at a court specifically for sorcery and related issues."

Superintendent Dominic Kakas says many people are superstitious in PNG, which also makes it difficult to collect evidence in such cases.

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