8 Sep 2003

The Marshall Islands moves to remove suspended Chief Justice from his post

7:24 am on 8 September 2003

The Marshall Islands parliament has begun moves to remove the suspended American Chief Justice, Charles Henry, from his post, after a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear in a criminal case brought against him.

Mr Henry was hired as the Marshalls' chief justice in 2001 but late last year was charged with alleged misuse of government travel funds.

His trial was originally set down for January this year but was then set back to August.

Mr Henry, who had been allowed to return to California after signing an agreement to return, failed to appear at the first day of the trial.

Justice Minister, Witten Philippo, has now introduced a resolution in parliament calling for Mr Henry's removal from the High Court.

The minister said by not appearing for his trial Mr Henry showed no respect or recognition for the lawful process of the court and government in Marshall islands.

He said under those circumstances Mr Henry, who has been suspended since the charges were filed, could not remain as head of the Marshall Islands court system.