26 Jul 2005

Fiji military chief says coup amnesty provisions illegal and cannot be accepted

7:09 pm on 26 July 2005

Fiji's military commander has warned that the amnesty provisions in the Qarase government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill are against the law and must not be accepted.

Radio Fiji says Commodore Bainimarama issued the warning at a military parade in Suva just ahead of his address to the Great Council of Chiefs on the military's opposition to the Bill.

Commodore Bainimarama said the military was not against the government.

But, he said, if the coup perpetrators go free, then the efforts of the military and the police to maintain law and order since May 2000 would come to nought.

Commodore Bainimarama said the military is concerned that legalising the Reconciliation and Unity Bill could lead to more coups.

He reminded indigenous Fijians that their interests are already protected by the Constitution and that they should not listen to claims that the coup was for the Fijian people.

He said those involved in the coup should face the consequences in line with the losses suffered by the nation.

He said the government should follow the law because those behind the coup want Fiji to go back to lawlessness which could result in ethnic cleansing and indigenous people fighting one another over positions of authority because of greed.