Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fiji regime hand-picking judges: FWRM

11 FEB 2008 - www.fijilive.com
A women’s group has suggested that Fiji’s interim Government is hand-picking judges that may decide on its legality following the 2006 coup.

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement made the comment while denouncing the recent appointments to the Fiji Court of Appeal.

FWRM director Virisila Buadromo said the appointments are illegal and further compromise the independence of the judiciary.

“These latest judicial appointments by the military-headed regime further undermine the rule of law in our country.

“We are on seriously shaky ground when the interim regime is hand-picking the judges for the Court that may ultimately decide on the illegality of their government takeover.

“We reiterate what the Fiji Law Society has pointed out; that all appointments to the judiciary after the military coup on 5th December, 2006 are unlawful.”

Buadromo said the independence of the judiciary was further thrown into doubt after new appointee Justice Jocelyn Scutt publicly supported the controversial Fiji Human Rights Commission report on the 2001 general elections.

“Such comments lead the public to lose faith in the impartiality of the judiciary – which is a very serious threat to the rule of law,” she said.

Justice Scutt told fijilive that she can not respond to the criticisms raised against her.

Interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had said he would issue a statement on the matter.

The new members of the Court of Appeal appointed last week are: Justices Nazhat Shameem, Jocelynne Scutt, John Byrnes, Daniel Gounder, Davendra Pathik and Isikeli Mataitoga.

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