Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fiji: spot the difference

Earlier in the month, the Fijian police took Tevita Malasebe from his home "for questioning". They then apparently beat him to death. Now eight police officers have been charged over the beating and subsequent attempts to cover it up, and the government seems quite willing to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are still begging for access to suspects in the cases of Nimilote Verebasaga and Sakiusa Rabaka, both of whom were beaten to death earlier in the year. But there's an important difference: Verebasaga and Rabaka were beaten by the military, who purport to be above the law.

Fiji's coup hasn't just undermined its democracy and economy; it has also done lasting damage to the rule of law. And that may be the most difficult part to fix.