26 Apr 2006

Challenges to French Polynesian assembly probes rejected

5:09 pm on 26 April 2006

A legal opinion by a French Polynesian court has dismissed objections by the former French high commissioner and the local political opposition to two assembly enquiries.

Under the new autonomy statute, the assembly agreed to set up two commissions of inquiry - one to look into the effects of the French atmospheric nuclear weapons tests and the other to investigate the disappearance of opposition politicians on a flight between two Tuamotu atolls in 2002.

But the high commissioner, Michel Mathieu, and the opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira objected, saying the assembly move was illegal.

Mr Mathieu argued that this was against the separation of powers and furthermore that civil aviation matters rested with the French state.

The report about the fallout from the weapons tests was completed earlier this year although the French defence minister refused all cooperation.