13 Aug 2012

Fiji constitution-maker says immunity won't fix coup culture

5:08 am on 13 August 2012

A member of the 1997 Fiji Constitution Review Commission says the immunity provisions the interim government has dictated for the new constitution will do nothing to change the coup culture in Fiji.

Professor Brij Lal of the Australian National University says while the provisions set down in the Fiji Constitutional Process Decree also include immunity for the perpetrators of the 2000 coup, there needs to be more openness in society and admission of fault.

A previous coup-maker, Sitiveni Rabuka, apologised for his role in the 1987 coup.

Professor Lal says there must be admission by all parties of their mistakes in order to bring about true reconciliation.

"Closure must be preceeded by disclosure, and so while I understand the call for immunity I think it is also important to lay bare the truth. So I think that unless the country faces up to the reality of what has happened, I think that we are planting the seeds of further instability and even coups."

Professor Lal says the Constitutional Commission has made a good start but there is a long way to go.