11 Feb 2004

Fiji's opposition leader says he doesn't support a blanket immunity for soldiers

4:40 pm on 11 February 2004

There's been a call by Fiji's opposition leader for the government not to consider giving a blanket immunity to soldiers involved in putting down the coup and the mutiny.

Mick Beddoes says he was told by a journalist that the government had plans to do this as was the case after the 1987 coup.

Mr Beddoes says while the country is grateful to those in the army who upheld their oath, there were soldiers who died during the mutiny.

He says their next of kin have raised concerns over excessive use of force and there should be answers for them.

"We must comply with the law. Every soldier that goes to war knows that there is a Geneva convention and these are the rules of engagement. So, likewise in our situation, obviously the soldiers are aware of the limits and if anybody went beyond this, then obviously they're subjected to the law"

Mr Beddoes says he would prefer that an independent commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the allegations.