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Stay Order Decision Postponed To 4 December

Issue No: 231; 28 November 2000

The decision on the regime's application for a stay order on the judgment of Justice Gates on the validity of the 1997 Constitution will now be delivered on 4 December. The decision was supposed to be given today at 2.30pm.

The regime had applied for a stay order of the decision that the 1997 Constitution is still intact, that the Parliament still exists, and that the current regime is illegally occupying office.

It is believed that the regime is deliberately using delaying tactics to ride out a longer term.

Meanwhile political parties, unions, ngos, and the legal fraternity have all called for an early hearing of any appeal from the regime, or even a special sitting of the Court of Appeal to hear this case. The regime still has not filed for an appeal against the decision. It is understood that the regime is awaiting the decision on the stay order application. Legal experts believe that the stay order would be declined. In this case, the regime will appeal this decision in the Court of Appeal - which will then be heard in February session of the court. The appeal proper, which has to be filed before the end of the current session of the court, would take longer. The regime's Attorney-General has been on record as saying that the court cases will take longer than what it would take the regime to write a new constitution and have a new election.

The unwillingness of the regime to abide by the High Court judgment, and the interim Attorney-General's frequent outburst against court decisions, together with the Chief Justice's recent activities, including helping draft military decrees, and judge-shopping in cases against him, has destroyed the confidence in the legal foundations of the nation. Many businessmen have complained that in the absence of the rule of law, the nation's economy will regress further.

END 28 November 2000

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