9 May 2005

Fiji senator says proposed Reconciliation Commission will not bring lasting peace

12:36 pm on 9 May 2005

A senator appointed by Fiji's Great Council of chiefs says the government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission will not bring about lasting peace in the country.

Last week Prime Minister Qarase announced that the commission would recommend pardons for politically motivated crimes during the coup and award compensation to victims.

But the Sunday Times reports that opposition has come from Senator Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, who as a member of the Chaudhry government was held hostage during the coup and whose father, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was forced out of office as president.

Adi Koila says had her father been alive, he would have preferred to uphold the rule of law.

Adi Koila says reconciliation cannot not be achieved outside the courts and unless all coup perpetrators are brought to justice, "Fiji cannot put to rest the ghosts of the coup."

She says victims have already been pursuing compensation through the courts since 2000 and paying for lawyers, and this offer by the government is insignificant.