Friday, October 10, 2008

Fiji: the judgement

The judgement in Qarase and Others v Bainimarama and Others is now online [PDF]. The short version:

  • The President can do whatever he likes in an emergency, and bugger the Constitution;
  • Whether there is or isn't an emergency is entirely up to the President;
  • These questions are completely unreviewable.

Which taken together, means that any group of thugs, uniformed or not, can create an emergency in their own minds from paranoid ravings about the threat of an Australian invasion (yes, seriously), overthrow the elected government, then hold a gun to the President's head and get him to ratify their actions and install them as effective government "to preserve civil peace". And they're not usurpers by doing so, because they can hide behind the beard of "legitimate Presidential rule".

I think that speaks for itself about the state of Fiji's courts - and its democracy.