24 May 2005

Fiji Law Society urges PM to abandon Reconciliation Bill

7:11 am on 24 May 2005

The Fiji Law Society has urged the prime minister to abandon his Reconciliation and Unity Bill, saying it's a threat to the rule of law.

The Fiji Times reports that the Law Society president, Graham Leung, has written to Laisenia Qarase, telling him that the Bill is not the answer to Fiji's problems because it won't achieve its intended purpose of reconciliation between the communities.

He says reconciliation and forgiveness are matters of the heart and can't be forced on the people.

Mr Leung has told the prime minister that "for the rule of law to work, you cannot treat people differently."

Mr Leung has asked Mr Qarase to listen to members of the public who have been voicing their concerns in the media.

The Bill will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet charged and suspend court proceedings against those facing charges.