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Fiji’s High court judges tipped to resign

Fiji’s High court judges tipped to resign

28 February 2001

USP Pacific Journalism Online:
USP Pasifik Nius:

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SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Three High Court judges will reportedly resign if
the Fiji Court of Appeal rules tomorrow that the 1999 multiracial
Constitution has been abrogated, the Daily Post reports.

A well-placed judiciary source said the three are weighing their options
before the announcement of the historic decision.

The source said the well-planned resignations were a matter of
principles and conscience.

"The judges will simply find it difficult working under a justice system
which allows and accepts the unlawful abrogation of a constitution, and
that too by the thugs like George Speight," the source said.

"A precedent needs to be set now so that history doesn't repeat itself.
If the constitution is not upheld this time any rebel will be able to
walk with the gun and demand the abrogation of another constitution in

The source said the judges believe they would be risking their
"integrity" if they continued working in a system which legalised the
overthrow of elected governments.

"It's about conscience, and perhaps we have some people around who are
just who are just not willing to accept and allow an unlawful precedent
to take place, which in the case is the abrogation of the 1997
constitution that has resulted out of an illegal overthrow of a
democratically elected government.

"Well, if they go ahead with their resignation, should the Appeals Court
rule in favour of the abrogation, Fiji's judiciary will go through
another big blow as one judge and some three magistrates have already
resigned following the May 19 coup."

Questions of public safety and security remain a prime concern as the
country looks forward to the landmark judgement

The National Security Forces and the president's office continue with
their call for all the communities of remain calm as they await the
court's decision.


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