7 Nov 2002

Fiji government defends nomination of former chief justice to international court

11:24 am on 7 November 2002

The Fiji government has defended its nomination of former chief justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga, to be a member of the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The nomination has come under strong criticism from women's groups which say Sir Timoci is tainted because of his involvement in the attempted abrogation of the 1997 Constitution during the coup and is not likely to be acceptable to international judiciary institutions.

They want the nomination of internationally recognised Justice Nazhat Shameem who they say will get the support of other countries.

But Fiji's foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, says Sir Tiomoci is the better of the two candidates and has a greater chance of securing the job.

Mr Tavola says Sir Timoci's age and experience is a plus factor and the government's decision will not change.

Meanwhile, Sir Timoci says NGOs should be more mature when commenting on matters regarding national issues.

He also says people should be careful with their statements because they could be defamatory