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World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems: Papua New Guinea

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1993
This report provides information and statistics on Papua New Guinea's criminal justice system, including its police, courts, and corrections.

Papua New Guinea's Constitution defines the National Government as consisting of three principal branches: the National Parliament, the National Executive, and the National Judicial System. The Constitution establishes an essentially Westminster system of government. The Queen remains the formal head of state, with her powers exercised by a governor general. These powers are limited and can only be exercised in accordance with the advice of the National Executive Council. For the majority of Papua New Guineans, most of whom continue to reside in rural villages, the legal system remains culturally, and often geographically, distant. Allegiance to the tribe, clan, and sub- clan remains stronger in most cases. With the notable exception of the village courts, first introduced in 1974, the current machinery and practice of the national legal system affords few concessions to customary law and forms of dispute settlement. Still, many disputes continue to be settled beyond the formal legal system through informal community mechanisms, such as village moots. The adversarial system of criminal procedures, which was retained after independence, contrasts with traditional processes of dispute resolution that emphasize mediation, compromise, and compensation. This report's section on crime considers the classification of crime as well as crime statistics that cover murder, rape, robbery, and serious drug offenses. A section on crime victims addresses groups most victimized by crime, victims' assistance agencies, the role of victims in prosecution and sentencing, and victims' rights legislation. A section on police describes administration, resources, technology, training and qualifications, discretion, and accountability. Other sections of the report focus on prosecutorial and judicial process, the judicial system, penalties and sentencing, prisons, and extradition and treaties. 26 references

Date Published: May 1, 1993