11 Mar 2010

TI Vanuatu calls for police commissioner's resignation

2:30 pm on 11 March 2010

Transparency International Vanuatu says the police commissioner should immediately resign to allow for an independent inquiry into the death of a prisoner in custody.

This follows a damning Coroner's report into the death of John Bule after he had been interrogated by staff from the paramilitary unit, the Vanuatu Mobile Force.

In his report the Coroner, Justice Nevin Dawson, was strongly critical of the behaviour of the VMF and particularly scathing of Police Commissioner, Joshua Bong, a former commander of the VMF.

Justice Dawson says Mr Bong was indifferent and may have been obstructive, and Transparency's Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson says he should resign or stand aside.

"So if he is just in charge of the implementing of the discipline with his own staff he will not do it, and we all know that and that's what is the danger because if they are not punished, if they kill the prisoner and they are not punished then the culture of violence will continue."