11 Aug 2009

Fiji regime accuses ousted court of acting unconstitutionally

2:10 pm on 11 August 2009

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says last April's court ruling which declared his previous regime illegal was not in the constitution.

In an interview with the Qatar-based television station, Al Jazeera, last week, Commodore Bainimarama has given apparently contradictory explanations of the upheaval in April.

He says the court of appeal ruling, which he purported to accept, went against his regime's People's Charter whose key tenet was to uphold the constitution.

The Charter was endorsed by the former president who in response to the April court ruling announced that he was abrogating the constitution and sacking all judges.

Commodore Bainimarama also says the international community should have known that they were going to do away with the constitution.

He says his regime could not accept a court ruling that was unconstitutional.

"That judgement itself is not in the constitution. So how can he be coming up, following a judgment that is not constitutional because it went against everything that we endorsed in December about the Charter."

Commodore Frank Bainimarama says if the international community didn't know that the constitution was going to be changed, it knows now.

Last month, he said work on a new document will begin in three years.