15 Jun 2005

Public prosecutors and police in Fiji concerned over impact of Reconciliation bill

7:08 pm on 15 June 2005

Fiji's director of public prosecutions and the police have raised concerns that the Qarase government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill will seriously affect their constitutional functions.

The DPP and the police have made their views known to parliament's Justice, Law and Order committee, which is hearing submissions on the Bill.

Fiji TV reports that the committee chairman, Manasa Tugia, has admitted the concerns raised by the two law enforcement agencies about the impact of the Bill on their constitutional powers and functions.

He says they have concerns about aspects of the powers given to the Reconciliation and Amnesty Commission to be set up under the Bill.

Among these concerns is that the Reconciliation and Amnesty Commission may hold the courts liable if they refuse to hand in files on political and coup suspects.

The two organisations are also worried that the Reconciliation and Amnesty Commission could prevent the investigation of coup-related cases and impact on the criminal justice system.

Mr Tugia admits that not many are supportive of the Bill.