22 Feb 2006

Opposition to establish federal court in American Samoa grows

2:20 pm on 22 February 2006

Hearings are to be held in the American Samoan Senate and the House of Representatives later this week over a bill to establish a federal district court in Pago Pago.

This follows opposition from legislators that such a move will subject the land tenure system to federal court review.

The bill was introduced by Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin into the U.S. Congress.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says Faleomavaega will push ahead with the bill because he has concerns about residents having to go off island to have their cases heard.

"Well, for one thing, he believed that any local resident that is charged with a crime, should be judged by a jury of his peers."

Ms Miller says even if there is local opposition to the bill, it is the U.S. Congress that will make the decision.