Friday, February 10, 2012

Illegal Fiji AG Defends Another Indefensible Lie

Fiji Village News
“Parliamentary privilege is designed to protect MPs in the house proceedings in parliament, not to protect executives in their personal capacity”.
“To say that it is consistent with parliamentary privilege is totally berserk, bananas, bizarre". (Law Professor, Auckland University)

Illegal Fiji AG Khaiyum
Labour leader Chaudhry
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stressed that the ‘parliamentary privilege like powers’ given to the Prime Minister and government ministers under the State Proceedings Amendment Decree will not be abused.

While reacting to comments made by Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, the Attorney General said the decree does not mean that government ministers will go around and start defaming everybody.

Sayed-Khaiyum said that the amendment is to ensure that the ministers are able to publicise information through evidence received and also allows the media to run the information without fear of legal action.

Mahendra Chaudhry had told Radio NZ that the amendment decree is ridiculous as it only gives legal protection to the government ministers to make any public statements from now until the next parliament sits.

Chaudhry then went on to say that the decree is making the country like a banana republic.

However Sayed-Khaiyum said that the fact that Chaudhry can make these comments shows that people can make comments about the government.

He also said that it is sad that Chaudhry is misleading people overseas and saying that Fiji is like a banana republic.


A Fiji interim government decree giving ministers immunity from prosecution over what they say professionally and personally, has been criticised by a constitutional law expert.

Professor Bill Hodge, from Auckland University’s Law faculty, says the State Proceedings Amendment Decree turns the concept of parliamentary privilege on its head.

The coup installed military regime in Suva says the decree extends protection against prosecution for reporting minister’s statements to the media, and is intended to facilitate open and frank discussion between government, the public and other stakeholders in the lead up to Fiji’s parliamentary elections in 2014.

The interim government says the decree is consistent with law about parliamentary privilege in Commonwealth countries, but Professor Hodge told Pacific Beat’s Bruce Hill, that’s simply not true.

“First of all it’s a decree that purports to change fundamental rights and one would think that can only be done by statute,” Professor Hodge said.

“To say that it is consistent with parliamentary privilege is totally berserk, bananas, bizarre.

Parliamentary privilege is designed to protect MPs in the house proceedings in parliament, not to protect executives in their personal capacity”.

Professor Hodge said the decree fails the very basic requirements of constitutional law.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in any parliamentary system purporting to be under the heading of parliamentary privilege”.

http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201202/3427126.htm?desktop

Read Reactions to the Absurd & Unfair Decree from within Fiji 
Citizens’ Constitutional Forum calls on the Fiji government to lift the State Proceeding (Amendment) Decree 2012 to allow free and fair dialogue to take place.

Same rights and privileges should be granted to members of the public to allow free and open dialogue without any fear of being held liable, says Akuila Yabaki, chief executive of Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.

The new State Proceedings decree states the current Ministers can openly say whatever they want against any individual or organisation, whether it is defamatory or not.

Rev Yabaki said it is of grave concern that the decree grants unwarranted immunity to Cabinet Ministers and the media from any legal action in any adjudicating body for broadcasting or publishing any comments by them.

It is unjust, as it unfairly favours and provides the privilege of protection to select members of Fiji without any recourse for justice and accountability says Rev Yabaki.

CCF notes that to garner confidence in the current government, it must desist from ruling by decrees.

“With this new decree, citizens would be vulnerable to personal attacks, and unwarranted allegations,” said Yabaki.

“The decree could be sighted as a means to protect one side while the other is left to the mercy of the media,” he said. Fiji Live news

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