21 Dec 2006

Co-author of Fiji constitution says Great Council of Chiefs has power to resolve current crisis

10:23 am on 21 December 2006

One of the authors of Fiji's 1997 Constitution, Dr Brij Lal, says the Great Council of Chiefs is a legal and constitutional body which has the right to resolve the current crisis.

And Dr Lal says that whatever decision it makes should be within the framework of the 1997 Constitution.

Dr Lal has told the Fiji Sun "the questions of illegality and unconstitutionality do not arise because the commander is in control and has placed his demands."

He says the Great Council should look for options in which the commander's demands can be accommodated within the constitution.

Dr Lal adds that whether Commodore Bainimarama accepts the Chiefs' resolutions remains a question because he has made it clear that unless his terms and conditions are met, he will ignore their proposals.

Meanwhile, another academic says it would be unwise for the military to abrogate the 1997 Constitution to escape prosecution.

Dr Steven Ratuva says the 1997 Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world and it would be difficult to go through the process of creating another one.

He says the best option for the military would be to pass an immunity decree.

Dr Ratuva says there would be no need for a parliament for this because the interim administration could do it.