13 Jul 2005

Fiji's prime minister gives indication controversial bill may be amended

2:07 pm on 13 July 2005

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has given the first indication that the controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill may be amended before it becomes law.

In a four-page advertisement published in Fiji's newspapers today, Mr Qarase says "there will be no interference with the authority and independence of the courts, the director of public prosecutions and the police."

He says "advice is being received from legal experts to ensure that the integrity and independence of these institutions are maintained."

Mr Qarase says "there will be close consultations with the Office of the DPP and the Commissioner of Police that the legislation does not affect the exercise by them of their respective authority under their respective legislation."

He says their consent would be required for any particular cases to be dealt by the (Reconciliation and Unity) Commission , which may affect their statutory powers and authority.

Mr Qarase says the government will make sure that the legislation finally passed meets the requirements of the Constitution and does not compromise the Office of the president.