24 Jul 2006

Official request made for review of American Samoa's judicial system

5:45 am on 24 July 2006

An official congressional request seeking a comprehensive review of American Samoa's judicial system has been submitted to the investigative arm of the US Congress, the General Accounting Office or GAO.

The request came from the Territory's Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunin, the chairman of the House Resources Committee, Republican Richard Pombo and the Ranking Democratic member Nick Rahall.

In a letter, the group says the purpose of this review would be to assist Congress in the formation of a judicial system that remedies current problems with court jurisdiction.

And, they say it will protect the fundamental rights of the residents of American Samoa and the territory's unique political association with the United States.

If the request is accepted, it will be the first review of the Territory's court system since it became a US territory in 1900.

The Governor Togiola Tulafono has spoken out publicly against a review of the local bench.