28 Nov 2005

Controversial Bill to meet opposition despite possible amendments

7:47 pm on 28 November 2005

The Fiji government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill will meet fierce opposition despite any amendments that might be made.

The Fiji Times reports that parliament's Justice Law and Order committee which has been hearing public submissions on the Bill will table its recommended amendments in the House of Representatives this week.

The committee chairman, Manasa Tugia, is quoted as saying the recommendations made by his committee will not compromise the purpose of the Bill which is to facilitate reconciliation following the political instability after the coup.

But the military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says the they will not support the Bill even if amendments are made because it will simply undermine the work of the security forces in maintaining law and order.

Captain Leweni says the military will be present in parliament when the amendments are tabled and if the Bill is passed, they will challenge it in court.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum says if the amnesty clauses are removed and the Bill remains unconstitutional, NGOs will take the matter to court and have the bill thrown out.