19 Feb 2008

Fiji's interim Attorney General denies reports that IBA has been banned from visiting Fiji

12:06 pm on 19 February 2008

Fiji's interim Attorney General has denied media reports that the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute has been banned from visiting Fiji.

In a press release, the IBA says its scheduled visit this week has been cancelled because the interim government has banned it.

The IBA says it's dismayed as it had planned to meet with a wide range of stakeholders to assess Fiji's state of justice and the independence of the judiciary.

But Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says his Government has simply been advising that the visit was ill-timed, and could prejudice legal cases such as the suspension of the Chief Justice which is currently before the courts.

"So what we've said to the IBA right from the beginning was yes you're most welcome - but please don't come now. These matters will be resolved - the litigation will be resolved in the next couple of months and you can meet whoever you want to meet."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the IBA needs to ensure it meets with a good cross section of Fiji society when it does eventually visit.