PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


FIJI TO RECRUIT JUDGES FROM SRI LANKA
Sweeping changes planned in judicial system

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 16, 2009) – Fiji’s Chief Justice Anthony Gates is currently recruiting judges from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed this to FijiLive saying Fiji is looking at sourcing qualified judges from Commonwealth member countries.

In an interview with a Sri Lankan paper, Sunday Times, Justice Gates said the government planned sweeping judicial changes in April next year and since Fiji and Sri Lanka were countries that inherited similar judicial systems, he wished to recruit judicial officers from Sri Lanka.

It is reported that Gates last week met Sri Lankan Chief Justice Asoka de Silva and Attorney General Mohan Peiris to discuss matters relating to his recruitment mission.

Justice Gates said interviews were held on Wednesday in Colombo.

A senior official of the Justice Ministry told the Sunday Times that there would be no problem in obtaining leave from the Judicial Services Commission for these 2-year assignments.

Justice Gates is also due to hold another round of talks with the Sri Lankan Chief Justice and meet the Justice Ministry Secretary on the leave issue.

Referring to Sri Lanka's judicial system Justice Gates said Sri Lanka maintains the independence of the judiciary and the highest ethical standards and Fiji can benefit by obtaining the services of local judicial officers with intelligence and integrity.

"What is of far greater significance is that the judges must act as judges. They need no other command. They must do the right thing.

"Few if any judges throughout the world will ever have to face the dilemmas we shall face; to be intellectually honest and yet be efficacious," he said.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com
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