7 Mar 2014

Pacific Chief Justices condemn Nauru Government's actions

4:38 pm on 7 March 2014

Chief justices from around the Pacific have strongly condemned the actions of the Nauru Government in deporting the resident magistrate Peter Law and revoking the visa of the island's chief justice, Geoffrey Eames.

Mr Law was deported despite a court order stopping such a move.

The Nauru government has claimed it was acting to combat cronyism in the judiciary - a charge Justice Eames has strongly rejected.

Melbourne based Mr Eames, who is still officially Nauru's chief justice, has said he thinks his position is now untenable.

The chief justices who have been meeting in Auckland, say in a statement that they are deeply concerned at the government's actions.

They say the events give rise to serious concerns about judicial independence and the operation of the rule of law in Nauru.

Last month the Nauru government promised New Zealand - which contributes aid to its judicial sector - that its processes for selecting new personnel would be more transparent.

A new resident magistrate, from Fiji, was sworn in last week.