Transparency International Vanuatu Acknowledges Improvement In Vanuatu Judiciary

A RESEARCH BY Transparency International Vanuatu into the Vanuatu Judicial System, to investigate why cases have not progressed nor been finalized in a timely manner, discovered that though there were not much evidence of corruption, there were instances where conflict of interest appeared to affect actions by the police, prosecutors and judges.

The Vanuatu Judicial Monitoring System (VJMS) research report published in 2013 also identified several factors that contributed to delays of processes within the judicial system.

However, the judiciary is not to be blamed entirely for the delays as there are private lawyers, prosecutors and other parties who contribute to this. “Unfortunately the court system is not robust enough to consistently control the manipulation of the court process by various parties through the use of delaying tactics” states the report.

Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) through its monitoring of court cases recognises that the judiciary has progress since the launching of the report in 2013. More high profile cases have now progress further to the Supreme Court with rulings made.

One such high case that has progress on is the bribery case against the Members of Parliament.

According to Port Vila’s Magistrate Court on Wednesday 12 August, the members of parliament accused of bribery allegations are now scheduled for trial in the Port Vila Supreme Court on the 1st of September.

Though the case has drag on for sometimes, TIV Chairman Dr. Willie Tokon stated that this is the first time for such a proceeding that involves Ministers and MP’s to go that far in the Vanuatu’s courts.

Although there have been reports in the past discriminating the slow processes and delays within the judiciary system, this bribery case against more than a dozen national leaders sets an example for future cases of similar nature.

Moreover, it sets a fairly progressive precedent that should be an encouragement to many who have had mixed perspectives on the judiciary in-dependency.