“Call To Pardon, Based On Custom, Is A Very Dangerous Call”: Dr. Tokon

THE VANUATU JUDICIARY SYSTEM set a high benchmark when the Vanuatu Supreme Court sentenced the corrupt politicians to prison in 2015 and it must not look back, says Transparency International Vanuatu Chairman Dr. Willie Tokon.

Commenting on Barak Sope’s comment – who said that if he was President he would pardon the jailed politicians, Dr. Tokon says that this would be unfair because it would be like having two separate laws; one for ordinary citizens, and one only for leaders.

CLICK HERE to read Barak Sope’s comment in an interview with Radio New Zealand.

Dr. Tokon says that he understands that Mr. Barak’s comments may be coming from the traditional perspective -the respect for custom, but he says that we are living in the new era where traditional values must work alongside the rule of law, and not above it.

“For those of us who grew up during those early years – fifty to sixty years ago, we can definitely understand this traditional reasoning, but for the rest of us thirty years and younger this may make no sense at all because everyone today expects ‘Justice for All, and All for Justice’. In custom, leaders can be treated different as custom dictates, but that must not be the same with the rule of law. Hence, the thought of freeing the jailed politicians is a very dangerous call” Dr. Tokon says.

Talking with Radio Australia Dr. Tokon says that he knows that some of the jailed politicians are very sick and their health conditions will only get worse in prison, but the right thing to do is to appeal to the Parole Board.

CLICK HERE to listen to the audio interview with Radio Australia Tok Pisin Service.

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