12 Oct 2007

Qarase lawyer says the military council is running the country not the interim administration

11:38 am on 12 October 2007

It's been claimed in the Suva High Court that President Iloilo's appointment of the interim government was a sham because the military council is running the country.

The Fiji Times reports that the ousted prime minister's legal counsel, Nye Perram, put forward the argument in the case in which Laisenia Qarase is challenging the overthrow of his government.

Mr Parram said his argument that the military council was running the country meant that the powers exercised so far by the defendants could only be so because of the presence of a national emergency.

He said given that the emergency had passed, the emergency powers invoked no longer supported the validity of the interim government.

Lawyers for Commodore Bainimarama, the military and the state strongly objected to the claim and the three judges adjourned the case to a date to be announced.

Outside the court, the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, accused Mr Qarase's lawyers of threatening the court by saying that if an adjournment were granted, they would raise allegations of bad faith against President Iloilo.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this was despite the lawyers raising several new issues which would require time for the court and opposing party to assess.

He said Mr Qarase's lawyers said if an adjournment was not granted, they would not raise the allegations against President Iloilo.

He said such an allegation was unprecedented in the Commonwealth and against a head of state, and President Iloilo may now need to be represented in the case.