9 Oct 2008

Fiji court legitimises 2006 military coup

5:52 pm on 9 October 2008

The Fiji high court has legitimised the 2006 military coup by throwing out a challenge to the overthrow by the ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

The case was heard in March and the ruling read out today.

The acting Chief Justice Anthony Gates says the judges found that the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo's actions during the period in question were lawful and valid.

The judges approved the appointment of Dr Jona Senilagakali as caretaker prime minister when the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, invoked emergency powers and declared himself acting head of state.

They also approved the President's decision to rule directly by promulgation, the President's power to promulgate laws and the decision to grant immunity to those behind or involved in the coup.

Mr Qarase expressed disappointment at the ruling.

"I'm completely surpised and very disappointed. I think there has been a miscarriage of justice here. The judgment virtually gives you a passport to future coups and all you need to do is to go running to the president and the president will fix it up."

The interim attorney-general, Aiyaz sayed-Khaiyum, has welcomed the ruling