22 Mar 2013

Constitutional lawyer says fundamental problems with latest Fiji draft constitution

1:45 pm on 22 March 2013

A constitutional lawyer, Shaista Shameem, says there are many aspects of the Fiji regime's draft constitution that do not sit well with constitutional law.

The Fiji government released the ninety-odd page document last night, replacing an earlier draft put together by the Constitution Commission.

Dr Shameem says she was struck by the lack of provision for independent commissions and some basic problems which could have been ironed out during debate in the Constituent Assembly which has now been scrapped.

"One of the strangest things I find is that the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption comes under the judiciary chapter of the constitution and it doesn't sit right there because this particular commission has investigative powers. It's not a judicial body. It's clearly something that has been drafted in a rush. They haven't actually looked at fundamental constitutional law."

Shaista Shameem says she is glad to see hardly any change to human rights provisions of previous constitutions.