10 Jun 2005

Former public prosecutor in Fiji warns government over draft law

10:15 am on 10 June 2005

The former assistant director of public prosecutions in Fiji says the government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill shows the government's top priority is to stay in power and the rule of law is a distant second.

Gregor Allan says the Bill, which he says is deceptively labelled, aims to erase the political upheaval of 2000 from memory.

Mr Allan, who's now a senior lecturer at Wollongong University's Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention, says through creative definitions, the crime of treason simply ceases to exist and becomes politically motivated.

He says if the Bill is enacted, it would mean that convictions made so far would be expunged, there would be no more prosecutions and no civil redress.

Mr Allan says despite opposition, the Bill is likely to pass because the government knows its coalition with the Conservative Alliance, which was formed with the mandate to free the coup frontman George Speight, must remain intact for next year's general election.

Mr Allan says it's therefore not surprising that the government leads the opposition to the prosecution of prominent people suspected of supporting the 2000 coup.