18 Dec 2006

Fiji's military commander wants immunity for himself and his soldiers over the coup

11:21 am on 18 December 2006

Fiji's military commander wants to ensure that he and his soldiers are given immunity in the constitution so that they do not face prosecution for this month's coup.

Commodore Bainimarama says they want an immunity decree included in the constitution to prevent any court action into what they have done in the interests of the country.

He says some of the military's advisors believe there is no need to abrogate the constitution because an immunity decree could be included in it.

Commodore Bainimarama says they will only hand power back to a newly appointed president and his interim administration if an immunity decree is in place.

But Commodore Bainimarama says the constitution will be abrogated if there is no other way out.

Proposals by the ousted opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, and the Citizens Constitutional Forum to resolve the current crisis already include immunity provisions without the abrogation of the constitution.

Meanwhile, Commodore Bainimarama has also threatened to postpone this week's emergency meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Speaking on Fiji TV's Fijian language program, Viti Nikua, Commodore Bainimarama warned the chiefs against making anti-military comments, adding that they are undermining the military's authority.

He said many of the chiefs who are against the military were implicated in the 2000 coup and warned them not to interfere in the army's plans.