In this talk John Himugu from the Institute of PNG Studies, outlines how deep rooted belief in witchcraft is in PNG and how tribal leaders solve witchcraft-related problems based on custom.
Huli leaders know when, why and how witches attack their victims. This principle is used when determining whether the victim in question was indeed attacked by the alleged witch or not. They also have first aid techniques which can be used by the relatives to save the person attached by witches. Finally in Huli traditional witch trial procedures, the leaders demand proof of witch attacks on the part of the accuser, and the confession if any from the accused w itch, and the accountability requirements on the part of the witch and her relatives, and any sign of negligence on the part of the victim. These are all considered and applied in handing down the decision. Finally , hardly anybody gets killed for being a witch in the Huli area because the community learn and use the above rules based on custom.
This podcast is from the landmark Sorcery and witchcraft-related killings conference hosted by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific’s State, Society and Governance and Melanesia program and Regulatory Institutions Network on 5-7 June 2013.