22 Mar 2010

Fears Vanuatu Government won't act despite stinging criticism of police

3:10 pm on 22 March 2010

Transparency International in Vanuatu fears nothing will come of a Coroner's report that was damning in its criticism of the police paramilitary unit, the Vanuatu Mobile Force.

The report, which detailed a force that placed itself above the law, has been out nearly three weeks, but there has been no action or statement from the Government.

One Government MP, Ralph Regenvanu, says the Government is working quietly and carefully through a very difficult issue.

But spokesperson for Transparency, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, believes they may not act given the country's issues with accountability.

She says, for example, during her time as Ombudsman there were no consequences from reports that were often highly critical of Vanuatu's leaders and institutions.

"So why, in this case, would it be different, especially when at present the power to prosecute is in the hands of a prosecutor that is often not in the office and was not even involved in the inquest, where the power to prosecute, or do something about it [the junior officers] is with the Police Commissioner, who was extraordinarily obstructive. So I think it is very likely that nothing happens."