Dear Editor,

I am compelled to express my concern at the behavior of some civilians in Vanuatu. They seem to be giving some insulting and offensive remarks to accused persons, without the court pronouncing the defendants’ plea response to the charge of the commission of the crime.

My own case is just two examples.

Firstly, I was recently in a Magistrates court for the preliminary session concerning the hearing of the charges laid to some current and former MPs which are criminal in nature. Upon leaving the court house I have heard people describing the accusers as criminals, also it can be heard from individuals standing 11 meters apart.

Secondly, going through a popular local Facebook page, I can see comments like “criminals,” “corrupted leaders,” and “join the prison Inmates” etc….

Chapter 2 – (fundamental rights and duties) of the constitution of Vanuatu, Article 5 (b) clearly stipulates that ‘everyone is presumed innocent until a court establishes his guilt according to law.’

It seems to me that the fundamental rights of these politicians were being violated as the court of law has not yet pronounced their guiltiness.

Our community should not condone such behaviors and respect the rights and dignity of each individual persons, nor should we wait for someone to be charge with human right violation or imprisoned before we decide to act in the interest of human safety. Vanuatu should consider a prohibition of such behaviors.

Pinoi Patterson

Source: http://www.paclii.org/vu/legis/consol_act/cotrov406/

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