Monday, March 30, 2009

Soldier not covered by immunity

Soldier not covered by immunity - 30/03/2009
Immunity is not covered for the soldier who is charged with the murder of Tailevu villager Nimilote Verebasaga.High Court Judge Justice Daniel Gounder delivered the ruling this afternoon saying that soldier Maika Vuniwawa will face trial as the ambit of the immunity is limited and not every conduct of those persons who have been granted immunity under the promulgation is immune from prosecution.He stressed that the immunity only extends to those acts that led to the ousting or removal of the officials of the legislative and executive organs of government from their offices and persons holding public office.Vuniwawa's lawyer Haroon Ali Shah earlier made a submission that no matter how serious the case or even if soldiers had taken part in genocide (or mass killings), immunity is there to cover them because they were there to maintain law and order.Following the ruling, the trial proper commenced this afternoon with five witnesses taking the stand.Verebasaga's older brother Vatimio Liganisulu recalled that on the 5th of January, 2007 at 5.30am, two soldiers holding guns and wearing green uniforms, knocked on his door in search of his brother. He told the court that soon after, Verebasaga was driven away by the soldiers in a rental car.Another witness Karalaini Toalevu said on the 28th of December, 2006, she saw Verebasaga drinking with a group of men where a dispute developed over land issues.The case is adjourned to 10am tomorrow. Verebasaga was allegedly murdered in military custody at QEB in December 2006.

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