7 May 2005

Fijian Political Party criticises PM over Reconciliation Commission

7:12 am on 7 May 2005

The Fijian Political Party, the SVT, has accused the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, of being "an arrogant liar who assumes he has the right to make excuses to bend the rule of law."

The criticism is over Mr Qarase's announcement this week that the government will set up a Reconciliation and Unity Commission to recommend pardons for politically motivated crimes during the coup and award compensation to victims.

The SVT's general secretary, Ema Druavesi, says a week ago Mr Qarase had denied reports that such a commission was being formed only to confirm it last Wednesday.

Ms Druavesi says the prime minister is making excuses for the commission by saying that those who took part in the coup were victims of a legal system that does not recognise the customary aspects of their traditional obligations to do what they did.

She says a political crime is still a crime and to claim traditional obligations is not acceptable.

Ms Druavesi says the coup criminals had their own agendas and Mr Qarase should not insult the intelligence of the ordinary people.