By Angela Marie Watkins
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – Over the weekend, the offices of the Fiji Law Society were raided, files were removed, and the Society’s president was informed that the government will take over licensing lawyers and the handling of any complaints, including its own against the lawyers.
Society president, Dorsami Naidu, told Radio New Zealand the new chief registrar, Ana Rokomokoti, and men in plain clothes demanded entry to the society’s Suva offices. They then took confidential files relating to complaints against law society members, and the chief registrar told staff a decree had been issued effectively deregulating the society. The society was told it would no longer be in charge of licensing lawyers, and membership would no longer be compulsory.
One staff member was threatened with arrest.
The raid follows the military regime’s reappointment of judges last Friday, six weeks after firing them all.
Those reinstated included two High Court justices who previously ruled that the military’s 2006 coup was legal.
All practicing certificates will expire on June 30.
For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand – New Zealand Law Society – New Zealand Law Society says Fiji’s regime further threatening independence of legal system – 25 May 2009
The New Zealand Herald – Law Society says Fiji raid ‘serious development’ – 25 May 2009
The New Lawyer – Fiji law society attack angers Aus lawyers – 25 May 2009