Australia, New Zealand judges resign from Fiji judiciary over dispute with chief justice

[JURIST] Six foreign judges on Fiji's Court of Appeal submitted their resignations Monday, accusing the military government-appointed chief justice Anthony Gates of interfering with the court's functions by not consulting the judges about their availability when arranging sittings. The judges, from Australia and New Zealand, said it was apparent that their services were no longer wanted. The Fijian government says that President Ratu Josefa Iloilo [BBC profile] has appointed two Malaysian judges [Fiji Times report] to serve on the Court of Appeal.

In January, military commander and self-declared interim Prime Minister Vorege "Frank" Bainimarama [BBC profile] appointed Gates to replace former Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki after Bainimarama suspended Fatiaki [JURIST report] pending investigations into "questionable activities." Fatiaki had opposed the December 2006 coup [JURIST report], insisting that the judiciary would uphold the Fijian Constitution [text]. December's coup was the fourth coup [BBC backgrounder] in Fiji in two decades. AAP has more. The Fiji Times has local coverage.

 

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