15 Dec 2009

Call for tougher Vanuatu prosecutor

4:05 pm on 15 December 2009

A former Ombudsman in Vanuatu, Marie Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, says a more experienced public prosecutor is needed after revelations that thousands of investigations referred from the Ombudsman's office have been ignored.

The current Ombudsman, Peter Taurakoto, says little is being done to prosecute those implicated in more than 3,000 alleged criminal cases recorded by his office since it was established in 1995.

Mrs Ferrieux Patterson, the first to hold the post and now the president of Transparency International Vanuatu, says the public prosecutor is related to some government officials which may create a conflict of interest.

She also suggests the public prosecutor may be too young and lacks authority.

"They need some kind of measurement to be taken to either find someone more experienced or to change the approach because I think next year the contract of the present public prosecutor is coming to an end and I think it will be a time to really find some people who can bring the office up to line."

Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson says the country also needs a more experienced Ombudsman who can exert more pressure to ensure all the alleged criminal cases are acted upon.