International human rights groups are aghast at the impending full implementation by the Muslim state of Brunei of a harsh new Shariah-inspired penal code that metes out unduly severe punishments for what might not even be criminal acts in the West.

Starting April 3, any individual found guilty of homosexual sex and adultery in Brunei will be put to death by stoning under the new penal code, which was revealed in 2014 and has been gradually rolled out since. Those found guilty of offenses under the code will be stoned to death, "witnessed by a group of Muslims."

The law applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims in Brunei.

The latest phase of implementation or phase three, including the horrific new provisions, was quietly announced on the Brunei attorney general's website on December 29, 2018.

Human rights groups expressed horror at the new penal code which was first announced in April 2014 by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

In May 2014, the United Nations voiced "deep concern" about the planned change to the old penal code. It urged Brunei to delay the changes so they could be reviewed to make sure they complied with international human rights standards.

"Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited," spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville said in April 2014

Amnesty International over the weekend condemned the implementation of phase three.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations,” said Rachel Choa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.

“The international community must urgently condemn Brunei's move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

The Shariah penal code was introduced in three phases starting 2014. Offenses in the first phase are covered by fines and prison sentences. Amputations came under the second phase. Stoning to death for crimes (including adultery and homosexual acts) are covered under the third phase to be implemented April 3, 2019.

"Today...I place my faith in and am grateful to Allah the almighty to announce that tomorrow,” said Bolkiah in May 2014.

“Thursday 1 May 2014, will see the enforcement of Sharia law phase one, to be followed by the other phases.”