27 Apr 2009

Transparency International welcomes appointment of first coroner in Vanuatu

3:11 pm on 27 April 2009

Transparency International in Vanuatu has welcomed the appointment of the country's first coroner since independence was gained in 1980.

The Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek has appointed Supreme Court Judge Nevin Dawson as the Coroner to investigate the circumstances around the recent death of Port Vila prison inmate John Bule while in police custody.

This comes as the preliminary report of an Australian Forensic Pathologist has found that Mr Bule died due to blunt force trauma.

TI's Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says the appointment is a sign of progress towards accountability over such violence:

"Especially at the moment, we are having a judge from New Zealand, really stating very clearly his position concerning violence. He's recently - in a case - demanded for the Public Prosecutor to bring him a list of all the prisoners who have been admitted to the hospital since the beginning of the year. He's actually doing his own check on that because of finding out what has happened in other cases."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson