30 Jul 2005

Fiji's military attacks chiefs' decision to endorse amnesty bill

8:38 am on 30 July 2005

Fiji's military has criticised the decision of the Great Council of Chiefs to endorse the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

In a strongly worded statement, the military says the decision is at the expense truth, justice and Christian belief which most of the council's members profess to uphold.

The military says the chiefs' decision doesn't change the nature of the Bill "which is legally, morally and ethically wrong."

It says "the Bill condones the events of 2000 and proposes that the destruction, burning, theft, takeover of government and statutory institutions as well private property and the killing of civilians, police and military personnel are now right, because they were politically motivated."

The military says it would "rather air its concerns now than be called in to rebuild a society that has been devastated by upheaval for that is where Fiji is heading if it continues on the path of the Reconciliation and Unity Bill."

The Bill will set up a Commission to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and ask the courts to suspend proceedings against those facing charges.