14 Aug 2007

Fiji's sacked GCC members go back to court

6:58 am on 14 August 2007

Sacked members of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs have taken their constitutional redress case back to the High Court less than two weeks after they withdrew it.

They withdrew their court challenge after the interim government published a gazette notice reinstating the Great Council of Chiefs which led them to believe they were back in office.

Then the interim minister for Fijian affairs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, clarified that only the Great Council as an institution had been reinstated but its members remained sacked pending a review which is due to begin next week.

Last week the former chairman of the Great Council, Ratu Ovini Bokini, said he would not challenge the review but agreed to a government invitation to take part in the review.

But Fiji TV reports that late yesterday lawyers acting for Ratu Ovini and his former deputy, Ratu Sakiusa Makutu, filed a fresh challenge to their sacking and applied for a stay order on the review.

Meanwhile, a former GCC member and the head of the Burebasaga Confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says her confederacy supports the membership of the Great Council as it was before the sacking and will not enter into any dialogue on a review.