18 Jan 2007

Fiji acting chief justice promises an independent and efficient judiciary

11:30 am on 18 January 2007

Fiji's acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, says the judiciary will maintain its independence and if complaints about human rights abuse are made, litigants will obtain redress from the courts.

In a statement, Justice Gates says "a wise army remains a disciplined army and there is no place for vindictiveness, petty bullying and settling of scores."

Justice Gates had welcomed statements by the acting attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, that the military should not abuse the rights of ordinary citizens.

On the judiciary itself, Justice Gates says it is now inappropriate to say that it would be business as usual because there are too many serious allegations against certain judicial officers and practices.

He says Fiji must have a more efficient justice system because its current inadequacies are now notorious and have undermined the rule of law.