21 Dec 2012

Fiji draft constitution puts police in charge of internal disorder issues

3:31 pm on 21 December 2012

The head of the Fiji Constitution Commission Professor Yash Ghai says the Commission believes the police should handle internal disorder issues rather than the military.

Professor Yash Ghai handed over the draft constitution to the President Ratu Epeli Nailataikau at Government House today and a Constituent Assembly will be formed soon to debate it.

He says for the first time, there is a whole chapter dedicated to the framework of national security in Fiji, which sets out the boundaries and values within which the military should work.

He says while the Police and Corrections departments should be subject to state policies, they should be mostly independent and in charge of operational issues.

"We think the professional military, their conscience should be to defend Fiji against external aggression and we would rather the police handle internal disorder issues. We feel that the military must be responsible to the government and to parliament and they have to act within the confines of the constitution."

Professor Yash Ghai says the draft constitution makes individual rights central, different from past constitutions that were built more on communal affiliation.