6 Oct 2014

Vanuatu judge rules on custom payments

2:13 pm on 6 October 2014

A judge in Vanuatu says custom or traditional payments in a criminal case cannot overrule the law of the land.

The judge Daniel Fatiaki made the ruling following an incest case in which he sentenced a church pastor to one year imprisonment suspended for three years, even though the pastor had paid a custom ceremony to say sorry for what happened.

Justice Fatiaki says often a custom ceremony addresses the community aspect of a crime to restore balance and order in the community, but a major weakness is that it sacrifices and ignores the concerns of the victim.