25 Jul 2002

Appointment of new Fiji chief justice criticised by NGO

10:17 am on 25 July 2002

Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights has strongly criticised the appointment of High Court judge, Daneil Fatiaki, as the country's new chief justice.

The coalition is objecting to Justice Fatiaki's appointment because of his role in giving advice to the president after the May 2000 coup which supported the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution and the abolition of the Supreme Court.

The coalition's chair, the Rev Akuila Yabaki, says the Fiji judiciary needs a chief justice who is not controversial, is independent of the two factions in the judiciary and is able to restore its reputation and solidarity.

The Rev Yabaki says Justice Fatiaki is not that person because he is politically controversial like the retiring chief justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga.

The opposition leader, Prem Singh, has revealed that he had not supported Justice Fatiaki's appointment when the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, consulted him as required by the constitution.

Mr Singh says he expressed his reservations in a letter to the prime minister and to President Iloilo and had given them other alternatives.