2 Feb 2008

Planned visit by IBA Human Rights Institute bad timing, says Fiji's AG

12:06 pm on 2 February 2008

Fiji's interim Attorney-General says a planned visit later this month by the International Bar Association's Human Right Institute could prejudice important cases before the courts.

The Institute was invited by Fiji's Law Society to investigate the independence of the country's judiciary after the IBA voiced concerns following the suspension of Fiji's chief justice last year.

The Institute has carried out similar investigations in Zimbabwe, Iran and Bolivia and plans to meet a wide cross spectrum of Fiji's law fraternity.

The interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says while he welcomes a visit by the IBA, the timing is inappropriate.

He says the visit could prejudice judges hearing a number of court cases regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice.

"We need to be mindful of the situation on the ground in Fiji. They're most welcome to come. We've had, for example, the UN group on mercenaries, developing the laws around that, in fact they've already come; we've had Law Asia, they wanted to come in and carry out their own asessment - they're most welcome to come. They were here. IBA is welcome to come to Fiji but not now."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.