17 Apr 2007

Regional law body confident Fiji will establish tribunal to study suspension of chief justice

7:00 pm on 17 April 2007

The regional law association, LAWASIA, is confident that the interim administration in Fiji will set up a tribunal to look at the suspension of the Chief Justice, Daniel Fatiaki.

Anthony Gates has been the acting chief justice since a meeting of the Judicial Services Commission in January

LAWASIA sent an observer mission to Suva late last month and its report found that the rule of law maybe compromised because of on going uncertainties and public perception the judiciary is politicised and divided.

A member of the mission, Dr Gordon Hughes, a former president of the association, says they recommended the Tribunal as a pragmatic way forward:

"I think they were responsive to what we were saying. They indicated they were prepared to convene a tribunal hearing as soon as suitable appointments to the tribunal could be made and our emphasis in our report has been on ensuring those appointments are made without delay."

Dr Hughes says he believes it would be best to use judges on the tribunal from outside Fiji.