Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ominous rumblings in Fiji

The Fijian miliary is threatening to remove the Fijian government if it goes ahead with legislation to grant amnesty to participants in the 2000 coup. The Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill is a political stitch-up, aimed at ending investigations into the coup which have begun to get to get too close to the truth. So far, the country's Vice-president, Deputy Speaker, Minister of Information, Minister of Lands, and two Senators have all been prosecuted for organising the coup or serving in Speight's "government". Most were members of the CAMV party, an ethnic Fijian party and primary supporter of the government. If too many more members of CAMV go to jail for treason, the government won't have the numbers to stay in power and will have to call elections early. Hence the reconciliation bill, which will allow the government to "wipe the slate clean" - in the process ignoring crimes such as kidnapping, arson, assault, and outright murder.

The bill is clearly a Bad Thing. It would undermine the democratic principle of the rule of law, and it should thus be opposed. But there's also a principle in democracies of the military being subserviant to civil government, rather than seeking to second-guess it at gunpoint. Commander Bainimarama's proclaimation violates this principle. The military's purpose is to protect the state from outside threats and widespread civil disorder - not from bad legislation. Once they start seeing their own government as a threat, they have clearly crossed a line.


Gregor Allen a former Assistant State Prosecuter in Fiji has done a brillent analysis of the legislation in NZ Lawyer and I think the Herald has picked it up. Read it.(Tim Barclay)

Posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 04:43:00 PM

Best bet for the Fijians might be to disband their military - they don't really need one to protect against external agression.

Posted by Rich : 7/13/2005 04:51:00 PM

1) I dont htink the military would agree.
2) Fiji might have a bit more of an issue with internal agression.

- either hte police are strong enough to act like themilitary and have coups or they are too weak to stop a random group from running around killing people.

Removing power from a group tends to jsut result in someone else taking that power.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2005 08:43:00 PM