15 Jul 2019

New Caledonia to rally against impunity for sexual assault

7:19 am on 15 July 2019
Judge, law, lawyer and Justice concept with a 3d render of a gavel on a wooden desktop with grey background.

Photo: 123RF

A women's group in New Caledonia has called for a rally outside the court in Noumea today in support of victims of sexual assault.

The action was called in protest at the prosecutor dropping a case against a French diplomat accused of sexually assaulting several women in New Caledonia.

In February, Cherifa Linossier complained to the French High Commission that Robby Judes repeatedly accosted and touched her at a function which she attended in her role as the head of New Caledonia's Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises.

The prosecutor decided that France's foreign ministry's dismissal of Mr Judes in March as its ambassador in Vanuatu was punishment commensurate with his offending.

The group Women in Anger says the prosecutor's decision is unacceptable and urged him to reopen the file.

In a statement, it says an administrative measure cannot replace the responsibilities under the criminal law for sexual offending.

It says it is concerned about the message this sends to victims of sexual violence in a territory already blighted by attacks on women.

Mr Judes was detained in Noumea for questioning but denied the claims, saying he might be the target of a plot.

 Noumea police station

Noumea police station Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

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