23 Dec 2008

Fiji's interim regime's accused of illegally appointing new Chief Justice

11:41 am on 23 December 2008

There's controversy in Fiji surrounding the appointment of the new chief justice, Anthony Gates.

The former acting chief justice has replaced Daniel Fatiaki, who resigned at the beginning of this month, almost two years after the military-led interim government had suspended him.

Under Fiji's constitution, an elected prime minister chooses the chief justice in consultation with the opposition.

This recommendation then goes to the president.

The Fiji Law Society's president, Dorsami Naidu, says since this hasn't happened in this case, the appointment of Anthony Gates as Chief Justice is unlawful.

"Why do they shout from their rooftops that the constitution is in place when they have cannibalised the constitution as it were and any appointment made by this regime is unlawful. They can make these appointments because they are in effective control of the country, but let's not hide behind the facade."

Dorsami Naidu says anyone appointed to the office of Chief Justice must be above question, which he says isn't the case for Mr Gates.