24 May 2007

Validity of Fiji's public emergency regulations questioned

3:49 pm on 24 May 2007

The validity of Fiji's public emergency regulations are being questioned.

A former assistant public prosecutor in Fiji, Raymond Gibson, says a raft of regulations that were introduced following the coup in December do not have legitimacy just because they've been published in a government gazette.

Mr Gibson, who left Suva last month and is now a Crown prosecutor in Melbourne, pointed out that none of the decrees or regulations have been passed by a parliament and cannot be considered laws.

He was speaking after the acting police commissioner said that under the regulations, the armed forces were allowed to arrest people and use limited force, if necessary.

Mr Gibson says all the decrees and regulations will be invalid if a case before the courts challenging the legitimacy of the takeover, is successful.

"If the court says the interim regime is illegal, it was an illegal takeover, everything that they've done in terms of laws that they purport to enact, all fall over, as a matter of course. Any decisions that they make are really null and void, the laws are null and void. It doesn't give them any greater legitimacy because they call them regulations in a government gazette than if they were to print them on toilet paper."

Raymond Gibson.