21 Feb 2007

Former FLP cabinet minister joins legal action against Fiji interim administration

10:43 am on 21 February 2007

A Fiji Labour Party minister deposed in the military takeover has joined the ousted prime minister and others in their High Court case challenging the legality of the coup.

The former minister of commerce, Adi Sivia Qoro, is one of the plaintiffs along with Laisenia Qarase, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Josefa Vosanibola, Ro Teimumu Kepa and other deposed ministers and SDL party officials.

Commodore Bainimarama, the military, the state and the interim attorney general have been named as defendants.

The acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, will begin hearing the case early next month.

The plaintiffs are seeking eleven declarations, among them that their removal from power, the dissolution of parliament and the military takeover were unlawful and unconstitutional.

They are also challenging Commodore Bainimarama's assumption of executive power, the dismissal of senior government officials, the sacking of board members and senior executives of government entities and the suspension of the chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki.

The plaintiffs argue that the use of the Doctrine of Necessity to justify the removal of the SDL government was legally wrong.

They are challenging the appointment of the current interim administration and the State of Emergency now in place.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants have committed treason and have imposed de-facto control of the country by force of arms and not by popular acceptance or voluntary acquiescence.