Tuesday, October 09, 2007

EU concerned with lack of progress

October 09, 2007

THE European Union (EU) has written to the President outlining its concerns about the recent lack of progress by the interim Government on process and the substance of the commitments it had agreed to.

Specific reference was made to the national election and the interim government's failure to form a tribunal to look into suspended Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki's case.

The EU strongly believes that Fiji can hold credible election within the agreed deadline of 28 February 2009.

''The EU underlines that, following the credible general elections held in Fiji as recently as May 2006 and in light of the findings and recommendations of the EU Election Monitoring Mission, and notably the final report from the EU Chief Observer, MEP Istvan Szent-Ivanyi, the EU is of the view that new and credible elections can be held well within the agreed deadline of 28 February 2009,'' the letter said.

Referring to Justice Fatiaki's case the EU said: ''On substance, the EU notes in particular that the interim Government has yet to undertake a tribunal pursuant to Section 138 (3) of the Constitution due by 15 July 2007 and looks forward to a decision as soon as possible.''

This section of the Constitution states: If the President considers that the question of removing a judge from office ought to be investigated, then: (a) the President appoints: (i) in the case of alleged misbehaviour - a tribunal, consisting of a chairperson and not less than 2 other members, selected by the President from among persons who hold or have held high judicial office in Fiji or in another country prescribed by the Parliament; If the question of removing a judge from office has been referred to a tribunal or medical board under subsection (3), the President may suspend the judge from office and may, at any time, revoke that suspension. (5) The suspension of the judge from office ceases to have effect if the tribunal or medical board advises the President that the judge should not be removed from office.

Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the tribunal to hear Justice Fatiaki's case will be announced as soon as hearing dates have been set. He did not say when.

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