6 May 2005

Fiji's CCF says reconciliation bill gives impunity to terrorists

12:41 pm on 6 May 2005

The Fiji government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission will give impunity to terrorists, according to the Citizens Constitutional Forum.

The CCF says this is because the commission would be empowered to give amnesty from prosecution to those who committed crimes during the coup which are judged to be "politically motivated."

The CCF's executive director, the Reverend Aquila Yabaki, says the amnesty provision appears to be aimed at protecting those coup offenders who have not yet been prosecuted - including chiefs, politicians and business people.

The Reverend Yabaki says these people must be made to face up to their actions and feel the full force of the law.

He says the church groups which the prime minister consulted on the proposed commission are dominated by indigenous Fijians and none of them represents the views of the Indian community who bore the brunt of the 2000 coup.

The Reverend says the government has spectacularly failed to consider the interests of the victims of the coup and wants to achieve reconciliation only within the indigenous community.

He says restorative justice is supposed to right the wrongs of the past, but one cannot right the wrongs of 2000 by ignoring its victims.