22 Aug 2011

ICJ investigation in Fiji aimed at changing government

8:18 pm on 22 August 2011

The vice president of the International Commission of Jurists says it's to be hoped that an investigation into the independence of Fiji's legal system will bring about a change of government.

John Dowd says allegations of political interference by the regime in the country's Independent Commission Against Corruption by its former manager, the Sri Lankan lawyer Madhawa Tenakoon, add to the reasons for looking at how the legal system is operating.

Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum has stressed the commission's independence but Mr Dowd says the jurists body needs to be satisfied that the rule of law is being carried out.

"We have no powers to interfere in a country, we can merely publicise and hope that that'll bring pressure on international governments, particularly someone who is part of the Commonwealth or has been part of the Commonwealth of Nations, that means there is some greater weight in pressure that we bring to bear for there to be a change of government."

John Dowd says starting the investigation will depend on international priorities.