FIJI OPPOSITION COULD SUPPORT A DIFFERENT RECONCILIATION BILL

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Aug 2) – The opposition Fiji Labour Party will support a Bill which proposes amnesty for those that took its members hostage in 2000 if it is re-written, according to its leader.

The party leader Mahendra Chaudhry told Fijilive that it would not back the current Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill even if the amnesty clause was removed, but could if it contained more detailed provisions.

"The Bill will have to be substantially re-written in terms of the processes that will be used to promote reconciliation," said Chaudhry, who was ousted as Prime Minister and detained by armed rebels for 56 days.

"The current provisions in the Bill purporting to promote reconciliation are seriously flawed," said Chaudhry. "There should be clear provisions for those appearing before the reconciliation commission to admit the truth under oath and to divulge all that they know about the events of 2000."

The proposed Bill is an attempt by Government to bury the hurt of 2000 and reconcile the country to allow national progress.

To this end, the Bill proposes amnesty for the 2000 coup perpetrators and compensation for the victims.

However, Chaudhry is adamant that truth telling is vital for reconciliation.

"Without [the coup perpetrators] divulging the information they have, there can not really be any reconciliation. It will merely be a vehicle for them to escape justice as is the provision in the current Bill," Chaudhry said." "There is no compulsion on them to come and tell the truth to the Commission about what actually happened, who were behind it, who were the key figures?"

The Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament this year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Fijilive: www.fijilive.com

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