LAWSUIT AGAINST FIJI ARMY COMMANDER TARAKINIKINI REACHES HIGH COURT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 11, 2002 – Radio Australia)---A court in Fiji has begun to hear a lawsuit against the country's army commander by an officer who wants to resign but has been labeled a deserter.

The lawsuit -- filed by Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini against Commodore Frank Bainimarama -- came before Justice John Byrne in the Fiji High Court Saturday.

The judge ordered both parties to reappear in court Wednesday.

The Army wants Tarakinikini – who is living in New York -- to return to Fiji to face allegations over his involvement in the May 2000 coup.

Through his lawyer in Suva, Tarakinikini maintains that the Army commander breached the law because he should have referred the resignation to Fiji President Ratu Josefa Iloilo as commander in chief.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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