26 Jun 2007

Fiji court decision pivotal in finding a way forward for the country says academic

6:15 am on 26 June 2007

The decision by Fiji's High Court to allow the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to proceed with his challenge to the military's overthrow of his government, is being described as pivotal to the country to find a way forward.

The director of Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, Dr Andrew Ladley, says this means the legality, or otherwise, of the coup will be determined by the courts.

This follows the acting chief justice rejecting an application by the interim regime to strike out the case.

Mr Qarase is asking the court to declare his removal and the removal of a democratically-elected government, to be unconstitutional and illegal.

Dr Ladley says the court is the proper venue for the claims.

"It's important that this goes ahead, particularly with the participation of the interim government and its legal counsel. This is an indication that they accept the role of the courts, that that's the proper constitutional role to play, to decide upon competing claims."

Dr Ladley says it's to be hoped that the interim regime will continue to participate in the court case and abide by the rulings that emerge.