Nauru Opposition MP welcomes new Chief Justice | Pacific Beat

Nauru Opposition MP welcomes new Chief Justice

Nauru Opposition MP welcomes new Chief Justice

Updated 5 August 2014, 11:00 AEST

"It's encouraging for Nauru," is how one of the five MP's suspended from Nauru's parliament has described the long-awaited appointment of the nation's new Chief Justice.

Roland Kun says he still questions the rule of law in the country because of the manner in which the former Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames and Resident Magistrate Peter Law were dismissed.

Mr Kun remains suspended without privileges after being critical of the Nauru government in the international media.

He says he's pleased that Joni Mandraiwiwi has taken on the challenging role of Chief Justice.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Roland Kun, Opposition Member of Nauru's Parliament

KUN: Yes, there is a sense of relief. Joni Mandraiwiwi is a highly regarded individual and it is exciting that he has agreed to take on the challenging role of being the Chief Justice of Nauru.

COUTTS: So what does it mean now for you and the other members of Nauru's parliament that's been suspended?

KUN: Well obviously at last now, we can have our matters put to the court, the correct jurisdiction for our matters is the Supreme Court and now we will have access to that to proceed with answering the questions as to the legality of our removal or supposed suspension from parliament.

COUTTS: Oh, I'm just wondering how it appeared locally, because Justice Minister David Adang said the government appointing three judges, so it's not just one, the Chief Justice making all the decisions for the country said that this was part of his mandate for change. Do you support that?

KUN: Oh, well that's just another nonsense coming from the current government. They still cannot justify what they have done to the judicial system of Nauru and to the previous Chief Justice. That will remain a sore point that they will need to address going forward, even with this as a new appointed Chief Justice and two justices.

The reality of it is we have in on past occasions, have had more than one judge in the supreme court handling court matters at the same time, so this is not at the same time. Even with Geoffrey Eames, we had Wondusa ? also hearing matters at the same time when Geoffrey Eames was the Chief Justice. So this is just another nonsensical thing coming from the government. The government does not have any choice, they do need to appoint a chief justice and it is encouraging that at last they've stepped up to that. But we will now have to brace ourselves and see how well the Chief Justice is able to withstand any other activity from the government that is consistent with their previous treatment of the judiciary, which is just a disregard of rule of law.

COUTTS: I'm wondering how it will be viewed locally, outside the five members of parliament that have been suspended, given the way that Justice Geoffrey Eames and Peter Law, Magistrate, Peter Law, were dismissed and removed from the country. I just wonder how people will view this now?

KUN: Oh, well it is going to be quite complicated, especially if government continues to sing the tune that they still have not done anything wrong and that what they were doing with Geoffrey Eames is justified. The only way they are going to restore confidence and this is where the issue is and restore rule of law is to go beyond appointing people into the offices, but actually demonstrating where the independence of the judiciary stands and where do they stand in accordance to that as government.

COUTTS: Do you think the incoming justices will be mindful of that, they would know how Geoffrey Eames and Peter Law were dismissed. Do you think that they will be mindful of that?

KUN: I do believe that they will be very mindful of that and they would recognise that there is a great importance in restoring confidence in the judiciary on the island and rule of law.

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