8 Sep 2004

Transparency Vanuatu suspects government targetting judiciary

3:45 pm on 8 September 2004

Transparency International in Vanuatu says it suspects the government wants to weaken the country's judicial framework ahead of court cases involving some senior politicians.

The government has called for a review of the role of foreign advisors claiming they are spying or interfering with Vanuatu's internal affairs, and taking the jobs of ni-Vanuatu..

Transparency's Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson says the advisors give extra strength to sectors such as finance, the judiciary, the police and public prosecutor's office.

She says these moves come as some members of the government, including the foreign minister Barak Sope, face criminal charges.

"So when you look at the whole picture then it looks like there is a desire to weaken the framework around them to maybe save them from having the consequences of their actions, so I think that is probably the general impression, whatever, the AFP and the accusation of spying looks like a false excuse."

Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson