23 May 2005

Fiji Law society to voice concerns over Reconciliation bill

1:17 pm on 23 May 2005

The Fiji Law Society is to take action over the government's proposed Reconciliation and Unity bill because it believes it could set the stage for future coups.

The Law Society's president, Graham Leung, says they will make a submission to the Attorney-General, Qoriniasi Bale, over concerns they have over the bill.

He says these include the ability for a commission to grant amnesty to those claiming political objectives over the coup and to give priority to amnesty applications from those imprisoned in connection with the coup.

Mr Leung says the bill fudges the line between the law and politics as treason would no longer be a crime if people could claim they had political objectives in overthrowing a government.

"History will keep repeating itself because people would be encouraged to think they can get away with criminality, under the pretext of having done something political because laws have been passed and may be passed again in the future. So, you're really encouraging a spiral of political instability."

Mr Leung says he does not know if the government will take notice of opposition to the bill as they appear resolute in wanting to push it through.