KANAK JUDGE SAYS CUSTOM LAW CANNOT DEAL WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Aug. 29) - New Caledonia’s only
Kanak judge said widely held custom practices should not supersede French common
law when it comes to crimes of domestic violence.

Speaking at a Secretariat of the Pacific Community Workshop on
Human Rights, Fote Trolue spoke of differences between French Common Law and New
Caledonian Custom law, which is recognized under the French Constitution as
applicable to the indigenous Kanaks.

The Appeals Court Judge said that custom practices could be
applied to civil suits, but that criminal law as practiced in the French system
is the only way to seek justice for those affected by domestic violence.

Trolue said custom laws can not serve justice for either victims
or perpetrators of domestic violence and other crimes linked to breaches of
human rights.

He says it is hypocrisy to say ‘custom will resolve
everything,’ and that it’s a way of shirking responsibilities under French
law.

Trolue also said that comparing custom law to French common law
is impossible because Kanak custom is based on oral tradition and as such is
always changing, especially in modern times.

September 1, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/

 

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