HANDS OFF THE COURTS: MARSHALL ISLANDS PRESIDENT NOTE

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (May 5, 2000 - Marshall Island Journal)--- Marshall Islanders have to insure that the court’s constitutional right to act independently is not violated by political leaders, President Kessai Note said in remarks at the swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice Allen Fields Wednesday.

"During the past 20 years, we’ve seen the independence of the judiciary chipped away by personal interests involved in the judicial system," he said. "It’s incumbent upon ourselves -- the citizens of the RMI -- to return to the judiciary its rightful authority and power so it can exercise its independent responsibility under the constitution."

Note reiterated his administration’s support of the independence of the judiciary to insure that the courts are kept free "of any political influence that might hamper the court’s duties to deliver fair and just decisions for the Marshallese people."

He thanked the panel of three Supreme Court judges -- which included former High Court CJ Dan Cadra and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alfred Goodwin -- for their earlier rulings that had a "profound effect" on democracy in the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: journal@ntamar.com  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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