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Building gutted by fire in 2007

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 3, 2009) - The Courthouse was set on fire on June 7, 2007. The perpetrators have since been convicted and jailed

Five applicants have been short-listed out of more than 30 architects both from here and overseas to design the country’s new courthouse following the June 7 2007 inferno that razed the colonial-era building.

Tenders were issued for brief design concepts in August 2008, Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek revealed last week during the opening of this year’s court session.

But he said the consequences of the destruction of the Supreme Court building will be felt for many more years yet.

The ongoing reconstruction of the pending cases case files in the Supreme Court is just one example.

Steps have already been undertaken to build a new court building which will be the country’s ‘Hall of Justice’.

In opening the 2009 Court sessions Chief Justice (CJ) Vincent Lunabek also revealed eleven tenders were received by the Central Tenders Board and the Supreme Court Hall of Justice building committee short listed five applicants.

The CJ said the process is still ongoing as the Central Tenders Board is yet to announce the successful designer and the current judicial reform will complement the construction of the new building.

"2008 has been a year of development for the Supreme Court (SC) library," he said.

"The SC librarian Pauline Kalo has been collecting, cataloguing and restocking what has been lost in the fire tragedy.

"The relocation of archives is near completion as historical archives are stored in the National Library and the current archives stored in the space created in the current office compound so it should not be a target area for 2009."

In terms of training and development the Judiciary will continue the training of its officers at the Law Faculty of the University of the South Pacific. A Court staff was given leave to prepare an LLB course until 2010.

The Vanuatu Judiciary will benefit from the training development from Pacific Judicial Development Program regionally/internationally. The provision of Law Conference between Judges, Magistrates and Lawyers which was organized by the Judiciary since 1998 will be revived and held in Port Vila on Friday July 17, 2009.

Intent on providing services to people in the language of their choice under the Constitution, the Judiciary has taken the step to train its staff members, magistrates and judges in the French language.

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