The Vanuatu Supreme Court has jailed six men from Tanna for two years for kidnapping two workers from Tanna Lodge on the orders of their custom chief.
The kidnapping took place a year ago when the chief had sought a meeting following the killing of a young male relative.
The two workers were wanted as witnesses who could tell the chief how the youth had died.
But Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek said while custom chiefs have traditional power over their people, the law does not allow them to order their people to kidnap others.
He said the six defendants must understand their action and conduct was against the law.
The son of the resort owner was charged with murder over the case, but this was later thrown out by the court.