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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Prime Minister Sogavare questions independence of judiciary

By Alfred Maesulia

The Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare today described the courts proceedings on the Commission of Inquiry Terms of Reference, a “Judicial Farce”.

Describing the manner in which the case was handled, the Prime Minister said: “It is a clear case of an orchestrated scheme by a Judicial system that has succumbed to the dictates of foreign influence and therefore no longer independent.

“It is ironic that independence of judiciary was at the core of the issued contended by the Attorney General and the Court when it granted leave for the matter to be fully contested and yet the very same Court is prepared to sacrifice that important principle when it denied the elected government of its fundamental right to be represented in the hearing.”

The Prime Minister said that quite contrary to the reasoning tendered by the expatriate Solicitor General, ‘public Interest’ demands that all contending parties be given the opportunity to tender alternative arguments.

Mr. Sogavare said that what had transpired was a clear case of collusion to pervert the course of justice.

Commenting on the peace process, the Prime Minister said the fact that the country’s judicial system is systematically falling into the control of foreign governments must be a matter of serious concern to all peace loving Solomon Islanders.

“Locking Solomon Islanders upon allegations that are based on shaky evidence is akin to pursuing a strategy of legalized slavery and clearly not in the best interest of peace and national unity,” the Prime Minister said.

He continued: “It is the Judiciary that needs to come to terms with the national peace strategy, and to stop acting like a foreign entity in Solomon Islands.

“Contrary to what was reported in Solomon Star, the Government will not accept any ruling against it on the two terms of reference, and will appeal any decision to that effect.”

He said achieving lasting peace is a corporate responsibility, and the Judicial system is no exception.

Source: Government Communications Unit

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