The office of the Secretary undertook the review of the Penal Code [Cap 135] specifically the provisions that dealt or looked at sexual offences and the customary reconciliation. Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Custom and tradition is one of the most important aspects of life as a Ni-Vanuatu. The importance of custom is recognized in Vanuatu’s Constitution. Section 51 provides that parliament may pass laws to help identify rules of custom and allow people who are knowledgeable in custom to sit with judges in court. Additionally, Section 95 (3) states that custom law continues to have effect as part of the law of Vanuatu, and finally, Section 5 provides for the fundamental right of protection under the law meaning that no one may be convicted of an offence that was not known to custom or written law at the time it was committed.
This review of the Penal Code regarding Sexual offences and Customary reconciliation will provide for an interesting read especially the findings from the consultations as these findings contain the views and opinions of the people of the Republic of Vanuatu and what they would like to see changed in the law to suit the current situation for Vanuatu. It is with great pleasure that we present this report on the review of the Penal Code [Cap135], mainly on the provisions of sexual offences and custom reconciliations. The findings and recommendations are all contained in this report.