30 Aug 2007

Fiji Human Rights Commission report says December coup did not violate PM's human rights

9:58 am on 30 August 2007

The Fiji Human Rights Commission has released the second part of a report into the military overthrow of the Qarase government last December.

The report concludes that the removal of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and his government did not violate his human rights.

Janine Sudbury has the details.

"The detailed report, written by the commission director Dr Shaista Shameem, concludes that the President acted within his sovereign powers on December 5th 2006 and January 18th 2007 by removing a Prime Minister who was acting against the Constitution. It says that he also exercised his powers by providing immunity from civil or criminal prosecution for those that undertook the task for the President, namely the Commander of the RFMF and the RFMF itself. The report concludes that it is irrelevant whether or not the people of Fiji accept the decision. It also states that legally and constutionally the events of December 2006 cannot be defined as a coup as they were the actions of a President exercising his prerogative power under section 86 of the Constution. However, the report states that the Prime Minister does have the right to request a court to determine his rights under the Bill of Rights provisions of the Constitution."