THE body of sorcery murder victim Leniata Kepari laid in the Mount Hagen Hospital morgue for nine months before a woman personally intervened to ensure she was given a proper burial.
These sordid details came to light in a National Court inquiry that began yesterday into the circumstances surrounding her brutal murder in the Western Highlands capital on February 7 last year.
Authorities did not even issue a death certificate for the murdered woman, the inquiry heard.
Justice Edward Kassman, who is chairing the inquiry, said her rights to life and freedom from inhuman treatment had been grossly abused.
"The National Court has jurisdiction to enforce basic rights when constitutional rights have been breached. For this case late Leniata’s rights to life and her right to freedom from inhuman treatment under section 57 (1) of the Constitution had been abused," he said.
In the first of three hearings, the Western Highlands police CID and the offices of the State Solicitor, Public Prosecutor, Solicitor General, court clerk, the coroner and the Mount Hagen General Hospital morgue officer-in-charge were summoned to provide evidence. Justice Kassman expressed concern during the course of the inquiry yesterday at the absence of relatives and community leaders to assist the police.
"It is very sad that no one, either her relatives or leaders from the surrounding community have come forward to help the police in providing facts."
He also expressed surprise at the failure of the coroner’s office to issue a death certificate. "What is deemed to be very inhuman was that she was not issued even a death certificate from the coroner’s office."
Churchgoers living in the Warakum area of Mount Hagen, which is where the woman was burnt to death with burning tyres and witnessed by a crowd, were also put on the spot for turning a blind eye to the crime.
"Is Warakum a place for murder where killers will go away free?" Asked the judge.
The inquiry proceedings continue this Friday with Justice Kassman appealing to the public to come forward with information that would assist him enforce the rights of the murdered woman.