16 Apr 2003

Fiji government to introduce immunity bill for loyalist soldiers

8:36 am on 16 April 2003

The Fiji government plans to table a bill in parliament granting immunity to loyalist soldiers involved in the political upheaval of the May 2000 coup.

The Fiji Sun says this has been confirmed by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

Mr Bale says the interim administration which took office following the coup had approved two immunity decrees soon after.

But both those decrees were declared invalid when the Fiji Court of Appeal upheld the 1997 Constitution, saying that its attempted abrogation was illegal

Mr Bale says the ministry for home affairs has been preparing a fresh immunity paper which will go to the cabinet before it is tabled in parliament.

All soldiers involved in the 1987 Rabuka coups were granted immunity by decree which was later included in the 1990 Constitution that was unilaterally imposed on the country.