11 Jun 2007

Independence of judiciary in Fiji questioned over calls for resignation of court president

3:21 pm on 11 June 2007

The independence and neutrality of Fiji's judiciary is being questioned after the interim attorney-general called for the resignation of the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Gordon Ward.

Dr Jon Fraenkel, from the Australian National University, says the judiciary is being transformed.

He says this started with the suspension of the chief justice following the coup and a subsequent decision by a High Court judge to act in that role.

Dr Fraenkel believes the makeup of the Court of Appeal will also change because some judges are refusing to continue when their contracts end within the next month or so.

"There's also a number of high court judges that have said that they won't accept renewal so they won't be sitting on the Court of Appeal to decide on the legality or otherwise of the activities of December 5th so we can already see that there is a process of transformation of the judiciary to make it more likely that a verdict is declared in favour of the regime."

Dr Jon Fraenkel.