February 20, 2019

French ambassador to Vanuatu summoned to Paris

The French ambassador to Vanuatu Robby Judes has been summoned to the French foreign ministry in Paris after a complaint of sexual assault was lodged against him in New Caledonia.

A senior businesswoman, Cherifa Linossier, reported him to the French High Commission in Noumea after alleged incidents last week at a function which marked the signing of a trade deal between New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

She told local media that she first thought Judes had touched her by mistake but she says he followed her at the function to touch her again.

She said seven other women reported to her that they were also harassed by the ambassador.

She said in December after an economic summit on a small island near Noumea a woman also lodged a formal complaint against Judes.

Linossier said the women find it difficult to speak out, fearing for their jobs and reputation.

Judes has rejected the allegations, saying there may a plot against him.

There has been no word from the French ministry about the alleged incidents.

Judicial authorities in New Caledonia are reported as saying that Judes cannot invoke diplomatic immunity.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS
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