2 Mar 2009

Fiji AG says US report on judiciary lacks evidence

3:03 pm on 2 March 2009

Fiji's interim attorney general says the US state department has no evidence that the interim government has interfered with the judiciary.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has rejected the criticism in the State Department's 2008 Human Rights report on Fiji.

The report highlights the suspension of Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki whom the government accused of misconduct.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says the Chief Justice was properly charged by a tribunal and a settlement was reached after his lawyers approached the government.

"If anybody can show me a shred of evidence as to where there is interference by the executive, with the judiciary then please tell us so and to date nobody, no government, no organisation has been able to show any such interference."

The Interim Attorney-General also rejects criticism in the report that the International Bar Association and a UN special rapporteur were prevented from visiting Fiji to assess the judiciary.

He says the visits were inappropriate while matters including the then suspended chief justice were before the courts, but they are now trying to facilitate a visit by the rapporteur.