23 Apr 2012

Rival PNG attorney general calls on international community to speak out

8:06 am on 23 April 2012

A fomer Papua New Guinea Chief Justice is calling on the country's development partners to express their strongest concerns at challenges to the constitution.

The O'Neill government last week introduced the Supreme Court Amendment Bill, which prevents the Court from halting new laws until after constitutional challenges are heard.

Sir Arnold Amet, who is the attorney general in the rival Somare grouping, says it is clear to any observer the public is totally opposed to the Judicial Conduct Bill and for plans to delay national elections.

He says he welcomes comments from the Victorian branch of the International Commission of Jurists saying the PNG Government is circumventing its own Constitution to intimidate and muzzle judges.

Sir Arnold is urging international Bar Associations and Judicial Conferences to condemn what he calls the unprecedented intimidation and interference with the PNG judiciary.

He says Australia and New Zealand need to speak out more strongly.