18 Apr 2005

Fiji looks at re-establishing indigenous court

5:42 pm on 18 April 2005

The Fiji government is preparing legislation to incorporate customary laws into the legal system and set up a separate court for indigenous Fijians only.

A five-member committee headed by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, has been given the responsibility to set up the court.

Mr Bale says it's difficult to try and define customary laws and draw the line between general court laws and the Fijian court so the system isn't abused.

A member of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, says the indigenous customary laws promote the value of forgiveness.

"There's a lot of people who do not understand how our culture works, and how, in terms of truth and reconciliation, it will ensure everlasting peace."

Ratu Josateki says the legislation's not designed to be politically expedient for indigenous Fijians linked with the coup.