17 May 2005

Fiji military says it will try to prevent reconciliation bill from becoming law

3:18 pm on 17 May 2005

The Fiji military says it is taking steps to see if it can prevent the proposed Reconciliation and Unity bill from becoming law.

The controversial bill, which is expected to be presented in this session of parliament, will set up a commission with powers to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight and others.

It also proposes erasing records for those convicted of what they claim is politically motivated crimes in connection with the coup and give immunity to those not yet prosecuted.

A military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says one would have to question what's wrong with the judicial system and whether all the military's efforts to restore law and order following the coup, will come to nothing.

Captain Leweni says the military does not want to see coup prisoners allowed to go free.

"It's just the democratic process that we need to follow to try and put a stop to the bill, and that's approaching our minister, and other prominent people to see if we can stop the bill from going any further. The implications of the bill will actually fall back on us and national security in the end."

Captain Leweni says the military has put its concerns to the Home Affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, and is waiting to see what the response from cabinet will be.