By Hayley J. Campbell
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – Fiji’s interim government will begin appointing new judges today after Fiji President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, abrogated Fiji’s constitution and dismissed judicial members on April 10th.
A new decree has established the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court and other courts as necessary. This decree has made it possible for a chief justice to be sworn in, as well as other judiciary members.
In addition, Fiji’s President has been given the power to establish the appointment of the Chief Magistrate, Master of the High Court, and other officers.
But there is growing concern over the new court system’s independence.
The new decree has eliminated the President of the Law Society from the group that decides the judicial appointments.
The head of the Law Society, Dorsami Naidu, believes that this decree will make it more likely that interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama will choose judges who are only sympathetic to his position.
For more information, please see:
Fijilive – Fiji courts take shape today – 20 April 2009
Radio New Zealand International – New judges to be appointed in Fiji – 20 April 2009
Radio New Zealand International – Fiji’s interim government will today begin to appoint country’s new judges – 19 April 2009