3 Jun 2005

Fiji police to press on with coup probe despite draft amnesty law

9:24 am on 3 June 2005

Fiji police will continue their investigations into the 2000 coup and army mutinies, despite the government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, has told Radio Legend that while he's not going to comment on the Bill, his responsibilities are defined in the Constitution and his powers in the Police Act.

Mr Hughes says he'll be pursuing his constitutional responsibilities and his police powers to ensure that those responsible for committing crimes are brought to justice.

Mr Hughes and the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama met the home affairs minister yesterday to raise their concerns on the Reconciliation and Unity Bill and how it could impact on national security and stability of Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama has previously said the events of 2000 have to be recognised as legally and morally wrong, and this can only happen if investigations continue and people serve their time in prison for the crimes they committed.

But the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, told parliament yesterday that continuing investigations and court cases for coup related offences are a hindrance to reconciliation.

Mr Qarase said they can't bring the people together and concentrate all their energy on developing the country when what he calls "the agony of 2000" is continuously hanging over them.