8 Feb 2006

Law Association waiting for Fiji government response to critical report

4:08 pm on 8 February 2006

The International Bar Association, or the IBA, is calling on the Fiji government to alter its Reconciliation and Unity bill to meet international legal standards.

A lawyer based at the Association's Human Rights Institute, Joanna Salsbury, says they're waiting for a response from the government after presenting it with a critical report on the bill and suggesting which areas could be reworked.

Among the issues raised are that there is too much emphasis on amnesty provisions and insufficient weight given to victims.

Ms Salsbury says this won't result in the community accepting the process.

"If you have an amnesty process that isn't really linked to proper restitution for victims, then ultimately you have no form of reconciliation. So, in all counts there are grave concerns on our part that the proposed reasons for the bill aren't actually going to come about."

Ms Salsbury says there are also concerns about the bill undermining the role of the judiciary as the amnesty commission could overturn a decision made by a criminal court.

The attorney-general was unavailable for comment.