23 Aug 2006

Fiji police commissioner calls for inquiry into 2000 coup

9:50 am on 23 August 2006

Fiji's police commissioner has called for a commission of inquiry into the May 2000 coup.

Radio Legend reports that Andrew Hughes' call comes just as the cabinet prepares to discuss a newly drafted Reconciliation and Unity Bill, the first version of which sparked fierce controversy last year

Mr Hughes says the truth needs to be revealed about the coup before there can be reconciliation and unity.

He says if Fiji is ever to get to the bottom of the coup, it will have to be taken to another forum rather than just the criminal justice system.

He says there are too many constraints on the criminal justice system because police have to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt and get the DPP's agreement that there is a strong case and every chance of conviction.

Mr Hughes says there is so much knowledge and information out there that will simply not get captured by the criminal justice process that the public have the right to know.

He says he is not in a position to reveal all of that because of privacy considerations and constraints on his role as commissioner of police.

Mr Hughes says although a commission of inquiry may be a painful process, it is a necessary one.