18 Mar 2009

Fiji's law system is independent, says Human Rights Commission

8:51 pm on 18 March 2009

The Human Rights Commission in Fiji says the sentencing of eight soldiers and a policeman to time in prisons shows the independence of the country's law system.

The nine men have been found guilty of manslaughter and five counts of assault, occasioning actual bodily harm following the death of a 19-year-old in 2007, after being in military custody.

Sakiusa Rabaka died in February a month after he and a group of friends were detained.

The chairperson of the Commission, Shaista Shameem, says the ruling by Justice Daniel Goundar shows that military and police officials aren't immune to accountability for their conduct.

"One of the important that Judge Goundar said in his judgement was that no one can take, no officers even if there law and order can not take the law into their own hands because we have separation of power in the country. You know, the Police and the Military do the arrests and it is the court that decides on the appropriate punishment."

Dr Shaista Shameem of Fiji's Human Rights Commission.