FIJI CHIEF JUSTICE TUIVAGA SAYS HE'LL QUIT AFTER ELECTIONS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 21, 2001 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji's Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga, says he will resign once a full Parliament has been appointed after the general elections in August.

Responding to the mandate given to the Fiji Law Society's executive council to proceed with "appropriate action'' against him for alleged questionable conduct during last year's coup crisis, Sir Timoci said he had no regrets about his actions.

"I have said it before and I will say it again that the Chief Justice will retire from the judicial service as soon as the government of the country can appoint a replacement. Unfortunately, this cannot be done until the country has a Parliament functioning again. Meanwhile, the Chief Justice makes no apologies for his actions at the height of the constitutional and hostage crisis for which he takes full responsibility.''

In what was described as the biggest turnout for a Fiji Law Society meeting, 152 members voted at the Fijian Resort on Saturday on whether to stay possible action against the Chief Justice for his alleged involvement. This was in advising the President on matters which led to the dissolution of Parliament and dismissal of the Prime Minister.

Speaking from his home yesterday, Sir Timoci said: "The Chief Justice is of the view that but for his particular actions at the time of dire national crisis the lives of the hostages would not have been spared, nor the country prevented from disintegrating into general anarchy and civil war. The ominous imminence of this consequence was the main determining factor in the actions taken by the Chief Justice.''

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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