24 Jun 2005

NZ law expert says Fiji reconciliation bill unconstitutional

3:41 pm on 24 June 2005

Former New Zealand prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, says Fiji's Reconciliation and Unity Bill is unconstitutional on several counts.

Sir Geoffrey, a former constitutional lawyer, has had his opinion sought by the Fiji Law Society.

The Society has previously spoken out against the bill.

Sir Geoffrey says he doesn't want to add to the Fiji government's difficulties but he says it is vital that the rule of law is maintained.

And he says it is also important that the government proceed in line with what is one of the most extensive and comprehensive constitutions to be found anywhere.

"All the procedures in that constitution are available for dealing with the situation that they have. If for example they want to pardon people, there are pardoning provisions within that constitution."