23 Mar 2012

PNG's Amet to file constitutional challenge against O'Neill government

11:16 am on 23 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's former Chief Justice, Sir Arnold Amet, says he has instructed his legal counsel to file a constitutional challenge against the O'Neill government's Judicial Conduct law.

Passed in parliament on Wednesday, the law gives the government the power to effectively suspend judges by referring them to a tribunal.

The law comes amid an ongoing dispute between the government and the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and has drawn criticism from legal experts and non-government MPs.

Sir Arnold, who is the Attorney General in the Somare grouping which also claims to be PNG's legitimate government, says the O'Neill regime is now trying to directly control the judiciary.

"It is simply the hallmark of authoritarian dictatorship and the encroachment of the traditional universal demarcation between the three separate arms of government: legislature, executive and the judiciary."

Sir Arnold Amet.