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Fiji Judiciary Is Independent - Minister Tells MSG

Judiciary Remains Independent - Minister Tells MSG

The Judiciary remains independent and will continue to operate independently from external or, for that matter, any undue influence.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and Civil Aviation Ratu Epeli Nailatikau while speaking at the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Vanuatu said the initial hearings of the court case brought by former PM Laisenia Qarase against the Interim Government and the State had commenced without any interference on October 4, 2007 and is in progress.

"Hearings were completed in the first quarter of this year and the High Court is now expected to deliver its judgment," he told the MSG counterparts.

Ratu Epeli highlighted that despite allegations to the contrary, no party has come forward with or offered the slightest proof that the independence of the judiciary had indeed been compromised.

"On the contrary, the judiciary remains firmly committed to upholding the rule of law and continues to exercise its powers as enshrined in the Constitution," he said.

The Institutional Strengthening according to Ratu Epeli have been as follows:

* Establishment of FICAC.
* Recruitment of High Court judges from abroad.

Meanwhile he said the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom issues are dealt with accordingly and appropriately.

"With regards to all cases of complaints of brutality by the security forces or deprivation of other human rights lodged with the Police authorities, internal investigations are being conducted to ensure that such infringements, if any, will be dealt with appropriately according to law and offenders have been put through the courts and sentenced accordingly," he pointed out.

ENDS

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