Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Where Have you Been Commander?

Army doesn’t condone violence: Interim PM
Tuesday March 06, 2007

Interim PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama
The Fiji Military Forces does not condone violence or use of force says interim Prime Minister and military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The commander after a meeting with senior military officers today said the military would now be involved only in manning of checkpoints, community work, and public relations.

The statement by the commander comes after claims that civilians have died from allegedly assaults by soldiers since the December 5 coup. There have also been a number of alleged assault and mistreatment cases against the military.

"The RFMF is a highly credible, professional and trustworthy institution. We have espoused these virtues internationally and locally, even in most trying circumstances," Commodore Bainimarama said.

"There is no reason for us to get the tremendous work, which we have done so far in rescuing this nation, tainted with images of abuse and brutality.

"As such, I have decided that the Military will have less and less role in attending to and/or conducting investigations which are really the domain of the Police and other law enforcement agencies."

Commodore Bainimarama said it is not the military’s role "to be involved in civil case investigations as these are matters for the Police and Judiciary to handle."

"We will provide backup to Police only when specifically requested."

Commodore Bainimarama said all previous cases involving abuse of human rights "will be thoroughly investigated on an independent basis by the Police and the Human Rights Commission."

He called on all members of the public "affected in such instances to report their cases without any fear or intimidation to the Police and Human Rights Commission for investigations."

Commodore Bainimarama said the presence of the Military on the streets would be further reviewed at the end of this month to determine the exact role it will play thereafter.

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