Fiji’s interim Government has reservations on certain people who are scheduled to meet with a European Union Expert mission that has arrived for consultations on the rule of law in Fiji.
The three-member team is expected to meet the interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum tomorrow morning as their first meeting.
The list of persons to meet the delegation include: Solicitor-General Christopher Pryde; Director of Public Prosecution Josaia Naigulevu; Public Service Commission chairman Rishi Ram; former AG Qoriniasi Bale; Constitutional lawyer Jon Apted; Fiji Human Rights Commission chairperson Dr Shaista Shameem; human rights activist Virisila Buadromo; Fiji Law Society president Isireli Fa, former Law Society president Grahamme Leung; former Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi; Suva lawyer Richard Naidu; suspended Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki; Transparency International chairperson Suliana Siwatibau; human rights lawyer Imrana Jalal; Pacific Concerns Resource Centre’s Ema Tagicakibau; former President of the Court of Appeal Sir Moti Tikaram; former Resident Judge of Appeal Michael Scott; High Court judge Justice Nazhat Shameem; and Police Commissioner Esala Teleni.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the terms of reference (TOR) was the commitments given to EU under the Cotonou article number 96 concerning rule of law.
He told journalists at a press conference today that the visit was part of the EU Consultation to assess the rule of law situation on the Pacific island nation.
“We, of course, welcome the team. Most of the persons that have been listed are either litigants or representatives of litigants in current court matters before the Courts, even in the constitutional form or other form of redress and invariably against the State,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We do not have any issues with them meeting up with these persons but we believe that for an independent inquiry to be conducted, they need to meet persons who may be lawyers or representatives of litigants or litigants themselves on the other side to get a balance. This current list is not balanced,” he said.
Sayed-Khaiyum reiterated that the interim Government does not have a problem with the EU’s mission to meet various people in Fiji reasoning “we believe it will be good and very healthy”.
He however, said: “It’s just that we have an issue if a whole range of people are left…there are lots of other lawyers, senior lawyers who practice in Fiji and who can give their views but they are not reflected in this list”.
Sayed-Khaiyum said he was informed and assured that the list could be expanded and that further names could be added.
“So, like I said we welcome this visit by this mission and we hope that the list of persons they will meet in order to get a fair and accurate assessment of the rule of law in Fiji will be expanded,” he said.
The meetings are scheduled to begin on July 2 and conclude on July 15.