According to chronicler Garcilazo de la Vega the Incas imposed a set of three laws on its citizens: “Ama Sua. Ama Llulla. Ama Quella” or “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not be lazy”. Inca law was based on a set of beliefs, customs and practices established by the Sapa Inca or his representatives. Regional leaders had the power to decide in matters of law, however they would lose authority when the penalty was mutilation or death which was ruled by a higher authority. Social stability in the Inca Empire was achieved by applying the laws to maintain a moral and disciplined society.
The Inca government promoted peace among its citizens, there was very little crime, but when a crime was committed the punishment was ruthless. Inca laws were severe and any kind of law transgression was considered an action against divinities. There was no system of imprisonment and offenders were punished so that the penalty was exemplary to the rest of the population. Those who survived a punishment were forced to tell their stories for the rest of their lives, those interested in listening would give them food so basically their survival was based on how engaging and compelling their stories were.
Penalties could be personal or collective according to the crime, from simple mass repressions to the isolation of entire villages. Since the purpose of Inca law was to teach a lesson to the offender and prevent re-occurrence by any member of the society, mutilation and the death penalty were frequently applied. Rebellions, homicide, adultery, second offenses in drunkenness, theft and laziness were all punished to death by stoning, hanging or pushing the person off a cliff. Mutilations were common for theft. Punishment such as public scolding was administered for minor crimes and first time offenders
When the Incas conquered a new territory local laws and rules continued to be applied unless they were in conflict with Inca law. If the leader of the newly conquered territory opposed the new set of rules, he would be executed and a new loyal leader would oversee and secure loyalty among the population. This new leader was usually transferred from another territory along with his family and entourage.