29 Oct 2007

Law appears uneven in Fiji cases involving military, says academic

2:36 pm on 29 October 2007

An academic at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji says there appears to be one law for the military and one law for everyone else.

Dr David Whish-Wilson, who is a lecturer in the faculty of Arts and Law, supports the Director of Public Prosecutions office issuing a court order which prevented some officers from leaving Fiji for U.N. peacekeeping duties in Iraq.

No charges have been laid against the soldiers but they are being treated as suspects in the case of Nimilote Verebasaga who died eight months ago after a military interrogation.

And he says there are other cases involving police and military officers, where charges have not been laid, and the outcome of investigations hasn't been made public.

He says it's encouraging that the DPP issued the order to prevent the men from leaving, as it would hinder investigations.

"These cases are lingering. No one is quite sure what is going on. The military spokesperson is often on the television, saying that it's an ongoing process. It would be hard not to say that there appears to be one standard for the military, and one for the rest of us citizens."

David Whish-Wilson