27 Nov 2006

Fresh trial for Sitiveni Rabuka due to get underway today

11:34 am on 27 November 2006

The former Fiji prime minister and 1987 coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, is due to go on trial today in a fresh attempt to try the former leader on two charges of inciting an army mutiny in 2000.

Last week Justice Gerard Winter ruled that the earlier High Court proceedings against Mr Rabuka were a mistrial and ordered a new trial.

He also ordered the media not to report the proceedings of the old trial until the new trial is completed.

Justice Winter ordered that new assessors must be assembled for the fresh trial and that all witnesses must remain in Fiji and be ready to give witness from today.

Mr Rabuka is facing two counts of inciting the then commander of the Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment, Lt Col Seruvakula, to stage a mutiny and remove the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Lt Col Seruvakula, who now works for the United Nations in Afghanistan, has returned to Fiji to be the main witness against Mr Rabuka.