21 Mar 2012

NGO deeply concerned about PNG Govt's Judicial Conduct law

8:23 pm on 21 March 2012

Legislation created by Papua New Guinea's O'Neill government giving it powers to suspend judges have been described by Transparency International as an attack on the spirit of the constitution.

The Judicial Conduct law gives PNG's parliament the power to direct the governor-general to appoint a tribunal to investigate judges.

The government says its law will promote the integrity of the PNG legal system based on the principle that an independent, fair and competent judiciary shall interpret and apply the laws that govern the country.

But Lawrence Stephens of TI PNG says he's horrified by the development.

"Yes parliament does make the laws, yes parliament can change the constitution but it has to abide by the spirit in which the constitution was drawn up and we believe this spirit is quite clear - you simply do not have the parliament making decisions on members of the judiciary in this way."

Lawrence Stephens