4 Oct 2004

Fiji President asks coup victims to forgive perpetrators

8:20 pm on 4 October 2004

Fiji's president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has asked victims of the coup and associated army mutinies to forgive their perpetrators.

President Iloilo made the call after the lands minister and high chief, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, who has a mutiny related case pending against him, made a traditional presentation seeking forgiveness on behalf of those involved in the upheaval of 2000.

Members of the deposed Chaudhry government and other victims of terrorism were not present as President Iloilo called on them to forgive those who made them suffer and reconcile with them.

The minister for national reconciliation and prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said the apology ceremony was done to express sorrow and regret for what happened during the coups and the people should pray it is accepted by the victims.

In an editorial, the Fiji Times has warned that this week's events should not be used as mitigating factors in any court of law where coup and mutiny related cases are pending.

The newspaper says law breakers should answer for their crimes in court and the government should listen to the concerns of those who have been wronged.

The Fiji Times says if the victims want restorative justice, the government should begin that as soon as possible to prove that it is not paying just lip service to national reconciliation.