FIJI NEWS

Ratu Joni is Nauru Chief Justice

Former Fijian vice-president and Roko Tui Bau Joni Madraiwiwihas been appointed chief justice of Nauru. He is among two Fijians appointed by Nauru’s President, Baron Waqa, to the country’s Supreme
02 Aug 2014 08:12

Former Fijian vice-president and Roko Tui Bau Joni Madraiwiwihas been appointed chief justice of Nauru.
He is among two Fijians appointed by Nauru’s President, Baron Waqa, to the country’s Supreme Court. The other is Mohamed Shafi Khan, a former Queensland, Victorian, ACT and Fiji barrister.
The third judge appointed is Jane Elizabeth Hamilton-White – a former Queensland barrister and principal magistrate of the Solomon Islands.
Ratu Joni was a Fijian High Court judge between 1997 and 2000, and was also a member of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was appointed a Law Lord in Tonga by King George Tupou V, an appointment that is for life.
The three new judges have been appointed after a government purge of the nation’s judiciary early this year.
In January this year, Baron Waqa sacked and forcibly deported the country’s sole magistrate, Peter Law, and shut chief justice Geoffrey Eames out of the country.
Mr Eames’s visa was cancelled in January in what he claims was an act of retaliation from the government over former resident magistrate Peter Law’s decision to grant an injunction against the deportation of two expatriate residents.
The new Nauru Supreme Court will have three judges, rather than just one, “removing the limitation of only one justice making all decisions”, according to a Nauru government statement.
Nauru Justice Minister David Adang said in the statement: “Our Government is determined to uphold a transparent legal process and to enact the reform that best serves the people of Nauru.”
In welcoming the appointments, Mr Adang said that all three justices had wide international experience and a reputation for independence.
“Nauru is fortunate that jurists of such high calibre have offered their services to the country.
“Our government’s agenda is to strengthen the integrity of our legal system, and these appointments are the next step in that process,” he said.
The justices will take up their positions over the next few weeks.
The Australian
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