10 May 2004

Fiji's opposition says delays in coup prosecutions have led to accusations against army

10:58 am on 10 May 2004

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says the delay in the investigations of people involved in the year 2000 coup and mutinies has lead to the current round of allegations against the military commander.

Three of the five senior officers suspended earlier this year have alleged that Commodore Frank Bainimarama planned to overthrow the Qarase government if his term was not renewed.

Commodore Bainimarama had insisted on another term to pursue coup and mutiny investigations in the military, including those who planned to assassinate him during the November 2000 mutiny.

Mr Beddoes says Fiji is approaching the fourth anniversary of the coup and all it has managed to do is prosecute the vice president, the deputy speaker of parliament and some ministers for taking an illegal oath to join George Speight's failed administration.

Mr Beddoes says the government is not innocent as it has senior members of its own administration including diplomats who have been implicated and it cannot therefore act impartially.

He says the responsibility for these investigations should go to a reputable foreign judge