PNG GOVERNMENT SUSPENDS SUPREME COURT JUSTICES

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Opposition decries use of new Judicial Conduct Act

By Liam Fox

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 5, 2012) - Papua New Guinea's opposition leader, Dame Carol Kidu, says the government's use of a controversial law to suspend two senior judges sets a dangerous precedent.

In parliament, the leader of government business, Moses Maladina successfully moved a motion to refer Chief Justice Salamo Injia and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom to a tribunal for breaches of the Judicial Conduct Act in relation to allegations of bias.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Radio New Zealand International the "move resulted from the Chief Justice earlier in the day rejecting an application in court to disqualify himself from ongoing Supreme Court references on the government’s legitimacy."]

The motion effectively suspends the two judges while the alleged breaches are investigated.

The government says the move will force the suspension of the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom.

The Opposition leader, Dame Carol Kidu, says the law gives the government too much power over the judiciary.

"Future politicians will think oh this bill is quite good, we can control the judiciary by doing this if we don't like them. Wow! What road are we on?" she said.

The two judges were part of a 5 man Supreme Court bench that was hearing a case on the government's legitimacy.

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