Friday, October 10, 2008

Qarase has chance to appeal: Apted

Qarase has chance to appeal: Apted - 10/10/2008

The dismissal of a case brought by deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and others questioning the legality of the 2006 military takeover came as no surprise, says constitutional lawyer Jon Apted.
Mr Apted said in every case one side had to win and on this matter the court had ruled in favour of the defendants.
He said he was not surprised by the judgment. He said some of the propositions of law and citations needed to be looked into and considered.
Despite the High Court ruling in favour of the Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others, he said the constitution gave Mr Qarase and others the right to appeal.
“The judgment is about the long term principles it stands for,” said Mr Apted.
The high court ruled the decisions of the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to ratify the dismissal of Mr Qarase and his ministers and to appoint Doctor Jona Senilagakali as caretaker prime minister to advise the dissolution of Parliament were valid and lawful acts.
Acting chief Justice Anthony Gates who delivered the ruling said these acts were valid and lawful as the president was exercising his prerogative powers to act for the public good in a crisis.
He said the decisions made by the president were necessary and he had to make them swiftly.
Although the court could not assess whether the president could have acted in another way Justice Gates said it was clear that the president acted for the good of all the people of Fiji as the action was taken after a long period of civil strife.

PCRC unhappy with decision

The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre is extremely disappointed with the ruling.
Director Tupou Vere said the centre did not support the notion by the three judges that civil strife was so irreparable to necessitate the overthrowing of a democratically-elected government.
“PCRC is appalled at the implications of this point on future cases such as the removal of the Chief Justice, senior public officials, the terrorising and abuse of members of civil society and those that had died when detained by police and military personnel following the coup of December 2006.
“Are we giving the licence to any President in the future and whose power is unquestionable and unfettered, free rein to agree to an overthrow of a democratically elected government?”
Ms Vere said the life of the state had been taken away.
“At the micro-level the lives of people who have been removed from office without due process, detained, violated, abused, terrorised and murdered have all become meaningless by the granting of immunity to the perpetrators,” he said.

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