February 21, 2007

Top international lawyer discredits Gates' appointment

Intelligentsiya has obtained legal opinion that the appointment of Justice Anthony Gates as acting Chief Justice was unconstitutional and unlawful.

Professor James Crawford (SC), of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom was asked to give his legal opinion on the validity of Justice Gates’ appointment by some senior local lawyers. (Click on image to download brief)

He was also asked to comment on the suspension of Chief Justice Daniel Fatiaki.

“If evidence was available of judicial misconduct against Justice Fatiaki, the appropriate step was for the President to use the process provided for in section 138 of the Constitution,” Professor Crawford wrote in his 13-page brief.

“Military intervention to place him on forced leave was contrary to section 118 of the Constitution, and was not cured by the doctrine of necessity.”

Professor Crawford said the entire procedure of Justice Fatiaki’s suspension and Justice Gates appointment was unconstitutional.

“…[T]he meeting on 15 January 2007 was improperly constituted since Justice Shaheem, who chaired the meeting and signed the recommendation, was not a member of the Commission,” Professor Crawford.

“In the circumstances this non-compliance with section 131 of the Constitution was material and it was not cured by the doctrine of necessity.”

  • Crawford is Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Faculty of Law. Crawford has an extensive practice in international law and international arbitration, appearing before the International Court of Justice , International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and International Criminal Court tribunals.


Anonymous said...

I confess that I am no expert in legal opinion but if Crawford's comment is something to go by, I'd like to suggest that we do something constructive out of it. So how about getting the Fiji legal fraternity and concerned Fiji lawyers plus concerned citizens who share the same views as Crawford take this findings even further? Crawford represents my beliefs and I support him and his arguments. But where to from here? Chief,is there a relevant legal authority outside of Fiji where we can challenge Judge Gates, Judge Shameem and their other legal cronnies for their illegal action? They need to be stripped off their title and jobs if they are found guilty. This need to be done now to save our Fiji. Maybe one of our lawyer intelligentsiya supporter can advice us on this blog. By the way, good to see that the media are acknowledging your work Chief. Happy Days!

Anonymous said...

If these judges are illegal acoording the expert then, let us apply the same logic on the abuse done by Australia in East Timor oil shelf.
If it is convenient for an overseas legal expert to adjudicate Fiji's situation, then it is appropriate for Fiji to judge Crawford's perception on real abuses of international law.

Crawford is a so called expert in Law of the Seas, but glosses over the greater crime committed by US, UK and Australia.
Then take in acount the atrocities of Abu Gharib and Gitmo and examine what Crawford said about that injustice. Why is Fiji situation considered far worse than these breaches of international law demonstrated in Extraordinary Rendition?

After all, injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

nomorecoups said...

Chief, i think we need to see things in perspective.
Its all well and good to shoot the messenger and assume that ''rawford is a so called expert in Law of the Seas, but glosses over the greater crime committed by US, UK and Australia'.
We dont know that? We dont know anything about Crawford, asides his extremely high level of academia and expertise.
We must see the message he brings us in that 13-page brief in the context of extactly that.. the fact that he is a learned person.
Its dangerous to shoot down each and every messenger whose opinion we dont feel too excited about because then we run the risk of not opening our minds to reason.
Crawford is not necessarily saying the Fiji situation is "far worse than these breaches of international law demonstrated in Extraordinary Rendition".
All he is giving his academic/legal opinion that what has taken place is wrong in the eyes of the law.
Why are people now so quick to judge him?
We must as responsible people take his opinion into consideration.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Crawford silence on those matters(Extraordinary rendition)then, it basically affects his integrity.

If criticizing Crawford was out of line, then that rationale also applies to comments of FHRC Director and all those who criticize her.

Since Crawford used his intiative to pass judgement on Fiji's situation. It is imperative to examine his opionion on far greater injustices. Responsible people ask questions on the abilities and performance of experts.

Since Crawford refused to comment on breaches of internatioal law by US, UK, Aust; it actually calls into question what kind of expert Crawford is-the type that ignores greater violations of international law. Yet is appeals to Crawford to ridicule Fiji 2006 coup but, not the 1987 or 2000 coups.

Since Crawford duly ignored the preceeding violations of Fiji's constitution in 1987, 2000 yet feels that his ruling on 2006 coup supercedes this dichotomy.

Anonymous said...

Whose that idiot talking in the second posting....who gives a flying F%#@ about bloody australia, or the UK problems....what about us man, F them, worry about first jerusalem first then worry about all those other developed countries

Anonymous said...

Please can somebody arrange to get Crawford to represent us the 'majority' who are opposing this 'stupid wanna be clean up' in the Court of Law......of course every right thinking body will want to donate to fund this fight for justice.....to the men in green and you shadowy figures dont you ever think you will run away from the law because if you will then your 'kawa' will not.

Anonymous said...

Crawford was asked specifically to write a paper on the legalities involving the standing down of the Chief Justice, the constitution of the commission and the appointment of Gates as the Acting C.J.
Not to give his views on Australia, New Zealand, the U.S.A or even why Humpty Dumpty fell off the bloody wall. He answered what was asked of him in a very complete, informative and conclusive manner.
Unlike some of the bloggers here he did not stray from his assignment.
He left no doubt that the actions taken in relation to the removal of the C.J. were illegal and therefore it would be presumed all actions taken by this interum goverment illegal.
Keep an open mind, it seems some people suffer from tunnel vision.

Anonymous said...

It would be extremely naive for Crawford to isolate Fiji's 2006 coup; without factoring in the 2000 coup.

Does that mean Crawford's ruling is 100% accurate? Not by a long shot.

If Crawford really wanted to contest the ruling by Gates, then file a law suit and let his theory face the test.

As for Gitmo and Abu Gharib and the Iraq invasion, War on Terror, electronic eaves dropping in the US, all these legal reasoning was created by a legal professor too.

All legal opinions by Law Professor does not mean they are morally correct.

Anonymous said...

8th Poster -- please read the advise from the poster just before you!

And why does the article in today's Fiji Sun copy some para's word for word from this blog??

Did somebody say the dreaded "P" word?

Anonymous said...

9th poster note: Whether or not Fiji Sun copy words from this blog is irrelevant and immaterial.

The 7th post is a fallacy because the request for Crawford's opinion was outside the legal system.

Although, the removal of Justice Fatiaki may be allegedly illegal, it is morally correct. That makes Crawford and his Fiji compatriots immoral.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Intelligentsiya for this scoop. It's further evidence that you are way out in front (the other commendable example of your journalistsic enterprise was your publishing of the leaked EPG report).

I am living in the USA and I have not been back to Fiji, my homeland, for nearly 20 years. And to be brutally honest, I have no wish whatsoever to return there while ever the apalling Voreque Bainimarama continues to maintain his illegal, unconstitutional and violenty-acquired grasp on power. Since 5 December last, the steadily worsening situation in my beautiful country has been leaving me feeling so sick at heart. Indeed, this melancholy is so deep and so profound that is seems almost at times to be manifest in a physiological way (I am 60 years of age; my wife has gone so far as to caution me that, for the sake of my health, I should try and move my mind's focus to other subjects). Surfing blog spots the other day, I encountered a link to your website.

Ladies and/or gentlemen of Intelligentsiya, what can I say? The mission statement at the top of your home page says it all as far as I am concerned. I believe that your high ideals, goodness and sense of fair play; your obvious "intelligence" (if I may use that term) and, above all, your emphasis on Human Rights - combine to make you a real and credible force for advancing the cause of Fiji's Return to Democracy. Your website serves also as an advertisement in cyberspace that shores up Fiji's reputation, a potent counter to Bainimarama's sullying of our standing as an international citizen.

Thank you so very, very much - not just for making this son of Fiji feel a while lot more optimistic about his country's future, but for all that you are so bravely doing in the service of your national and her peoples. May God protect you, my dear friends.

Anonymous said...

Most of the commentators on this topic seem to be missing the point when they try to vbring in other countries and firget that we are here to talk about us. Just because America and others have done it even though it is wrong, we should ask Mr. Crawford not to say anything about our own situation given his background. I think that biblical saying - to begin in Jerusalem should be rung out loud to those wo want to compare us to other bigger countries.