Fiji Coup Supplement
13th July 2000
THE MUANIKAU ACCORD
Immunity Decree 2000
WHERAS as the result of the attempted illegal takeover of the Government of the Fiji Islands elected under the 1997 Constitution by Ilikini Naitini also known as George Speight (hereinafter referred to as George Speight) and his Group, a state of emergency was declared by the President with effect from 7pm on Friday the 19th day of May, 2000;
AND WHEREAS the Bose Levu Vakaturaga having met in a special meeting over three days from 23 May to 25 May 2000 to consider the state of emergency and the grave political unrest in the Fiji Islands, and passed ten resolutions in its endeavors to find a practical and lawful solution to the deepening national crisis;
AND WHEREAS the national crisis has caused and continues to cause serious adverse effect and implications on the national security and the people in relation to their daily lives and welfare including the national economy, the employment situation, the education system, public transport and national security and it is incumbent upon me to seek and adopt the best practical and lawful means available to me of averting a potentially catastrophic political situation;
AND WHEREAS having regard to the aforesaid resolutions by the Bose Levu Vakaturaga and the very precarious state of the nation, it is my sincere and firm belief that I shall be acting in the best and wider interests of preserving and maintaining law and order and returning our beloved country to normalcy;
NOW THEREFORE, given the immediate objectives of the Interim Military Government to secure the release of the hostages at the Parliament Complex and for the surrender and return of all weapons, ordnance and stores in the possession and control of George Speight and his Group;
AND in exercise of the powers vested in me as Head of the Interim Military Government of Fiji, I hereby make the following Decree- Short title and commencement 1. This Decree may be cited as the Immunity Decree 2000 and shall come into force on the 13th day of July, 2000. Interpretation 2.
In this Decree, unless the context otherwise requires "political offence" means an offence allegedly committed by any person or persons between the 19th day of May, 2000 and the 13th day of July , 2000 (both dates inclusive), such offence being either directly or indirectly prompted and motivated by the attempted illegal takeover of the Government on the 19th day of May 2000 and the political developments during that period and including any offence, which has been subject of police complaint, which was prompted or motivated by the political developments during the relevant period. Grant of Immunity 3.
(1) Notwithstanding Section 14(2) of the State Services Decree 2000 (No. 6 of 2000) George Speight the leader of the Taukei Civilian Group, and members of his Group who took part in the unlawful takeover of the Government democratically elected under the 1997 Constitution on the 19th day of May, 2000 and the subsequent holding of the hostages until the 13th day of July 2000 shall be immune from criminal prosecution under the Penal Code or the breach of any law of Fiji and civil liability in respect of any damage or injury to property or person connected with the unlawful seizure of Government powers, the unlawful detention of certain members of the House of Representatives and any other person and no court shall entertain any action or proceeding or make any decision or order, or grant any remedy or relief in any proceedings instituted against George Speight or any member of his Group.
(2) Subsection (1) also applies to any other person who acted under the directions, orders or instructions of George Speight or any members of the Taukei Civilian Government as a result of the unlawful seizure of government powers and unlawful detention of the Prime Minister and certain Cabinet Ministers and Members of the House of Representatives and other persons.
(3) Subject to section (4) , this Decree does not extend to any other person who committed an offence under any law within and outside the Parliament Complex between the 19th day of May 2000 and the 13th day of July 2000 in respect of any act done without the directions, orders or instructions of George Speight or any member of the Taukei Civilian Government.
(4) Any person who commits a political offence within the meaning of this Decree shall be immune from criminal prosecutions under the Penal Code or the breach of any law of Fiji. Miscellaneous 4 (1) No compensation shall be payable by the State to any person in respect of any injury to person or damage to property caused by or consequent upon any conduct for which immunity has been granted under this Decree. (2)
This Decree shall not be amended or repealed by Parliament or any other Decree. (3) Chapter XIV of the Constitution of 1990 continues in force in accordance with its tenor. MADE AT SUVA this day of July, 2000 Commodore J. V. Bainimarama Head of the Interim Military Government of Fiji
THE MUANIKAU ACCORD FOR THE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES HELD
AT THE PARLIAMENT COMPLEX VEIUTO
THIS ACCORD is made at Muanikau, Suva on Sunday the 9th day of July 2000.
BETWEEN: The Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and head of the Interim Military Government of Fiji and Ilikini Naitini also known as George Speight for and on behalf of himself and his group and supporters.
(A) Whereas a group of armed men under the leadership of one Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight (hereinafter) referred to as the George Speight Team (GST) did on May 19, 2000 at the Parliament Complex at Veiuto, Suva by force of arms seize, take and have kept as political hostages the Prime Minister, most members of his Cabinet, some members of the House of Representatives and other persons (hereinafter referred to as the "political hostages") Schedule One hereto.
(B) And Whereas the GST was immediately joined by other civilians who under the leadership of Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight purported to form a government and styled themselves the Taukei Civilian Government (TCG) with the declared purpose of addressing and correcting the growing discontent among indigenous Fijians and their opposition:
(a) to various policies declared and/or implemented by the People's Coalition Government under Mahendra Pal Chaudhry as Prime Minister; and to various matters and issues which are inconsistent with the aspirations of the indigenous Fijians; and (b) to the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands which they believe are repugnant to the preservation and protection of the rights and interests of indigenous Fijians in Fiji;
(C) And Whereas the said Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight did on May 19 2000 purport to abrogate by Decree the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, and he also purported to promulgate various enabling Decrees under which he proceeded to appoint a President, a Prime Minister and other Ministers under the said TCG:
(D) And Whereas the said Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight and the TCG purported to establish and have maintained control of the Parliament Complex and its environs together with the political hostages held therein since May 19, 2000.
(E) And Whereas His Excellency, the President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, on the advice of the Commissioner of Police and being satisfied that the state of law and order in the country was put at great risk by the political crisis caused by the GST, and acting on his own deliberate judgement, did on May 19, 2000 declare a state of national emergency over Fiji under the Public Safety Act; and acting pursuant to section 85 of the Constitution, he assumed sole Executive Authority of the Government of Fiji in the absence of the Prime Minister and his Government Ministers;
(F) And Whereas on 23rd to 25th May 2000 the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (hereinafter referred to as the "BLV" ) in an attempt to maintain constitutional Government and authority in Fiji met at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Nabua , Suva (QEB) and adopted a number of Resolutions (hereinafter referred to as the (Resolutions), and delegated to a specially appointed committee (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") the responsibility: (a) of conveying the said Resolutions to Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight and members of his group (hereinafter referred to as the "GSG"); and (b) of maintaining dialogue with the GSG in respect of the Resolutions;
(G) And whereas as a result of the disappointment initially expressed by the GSG over the inconsistencies between some of their aims and plan of action and some of the Resolutions of the BLV conveyed to them by the Committee, the Committee acting pursuant to Resolution 10 of the said Resolutions, sought and obtained the agreement of the GSG that the Committee entered into negotiations with the GSG for the purpose of determining the best means of implementing the said Resolutions;
(H) And whereas His Excellency the President, in his continuing search for a proper and peaceful solution to the political crisis and acting in accordance with his constitutional powers, appointed the Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Immigration Ratu Tevita Momoedonu, to perform the functions of the Prime Minister; and further acting on the advice of the said Prime Minister, the President dismissed Prime Minister Mahendra Pal Chaudhry and all of his Ministers, and upon receiving the resignation for the said Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as Prime Minister, the President proceeded to prorogue Parliament;
(I) And whereas following various incidents of civil commotion and continuing civil unrest especially in and around Suva since May 19, 2000 resulting in the fatal shooting of a policeman, and after the Commissioner of Police considered that the Fiji Police Force can no longer guarantee the security of the nation, requested the President to invoke regulation 22 of the Emergency Regulations and to request the RFMF to perform all duties and functions of police officers. The President in his own deliberate judgement directed the RFMF to assume the responsibility of the security of the nation;
(J) And whereas the RFMF, under its Commander, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, considering the gravity of the deteriorating security situation and believing that it was necessary to preserve the State and the people from potential anarchy, advised the President that it was in the best interest of the security of the nation that the President gave way to the formation of military rule under an Interim Military Government (IMG) and for the assumption of executive authority and power by the Head of the IMG;
(K) And whereas the Head of the IMG in the exercise of its executive authority and legislative power over Fiji did on May 29, 2000, promulgate the following Decrees: (a) IMG Decree No. 1, the Fiji Constitution Revocation Decree 2000, wherein it abrogated the Fiji Constitution of 1997 resulting in the removal of His Excellency the President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and all the vital institutions of the Government and, (b) IMG Decree No. 2, the Fiji Existing Laws Decree 2000, resulting in the reinstatement of all laws, other than the 1997 Constitution, existing prior to May 29, 2000
(L) And whereas the IMG under the leadership of the Commander of the RFMF and Head of the IMG with the assistance of his Military Council and selected civilian advisers has been in effective control over the governance of the nation since May 29, 2000 including the promulgation of Decrees for the establishment or constitution of the vital institutions of the State;
(M) And whereas the state of national security has compelled the IMG to continue to maintain military rule over the whole nation with stricter application in and around Suva and its suburb in view of the continuing difficulty in finding an acceptable solution to the current national crisis and the consequential reluctance of the GSG to release its political hostages still held captive at the Parliament Complex until an acceptable solution is found;
(N) And whereas the national crisis has caused and continues to cause serious adverse effect and implications on the national security and its people in relation to their daily lives and welfare, including the national economy, the employment situation, the education system, public transport and national security;
(O) And whereas the representatives of the parties hereto have with the co-operation of a Committee of the BLV and occasionally under the chairmanship of the Turaga ni Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilo and in the final stages with the assistance of the Turaga na Qaranivalu, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, been engaged in continuous negotiations in their search for and desire to find the most appropriate peaceful solution to the current national crisis especially in relation to the release of the political hostages, the formation of a suitable and acceptable interim regime and the mapping of a way forward to ensure that the grievances of the indigenous Fijians including those highlighted by the GSG are expeditiously addressed and adequately corrected without ignoring the interests of all other citizens of this nation;
(P) And whereas the H/IMG has continued to govern the nation with the assistance of his Military Council and unilaterally selected a Military Interim Government on July 4, 2000 until the appointment of an Interim Civilian Government under clause 2 below Now therefore the parties hereto agree as follows: 1. The immediate objectives of the Parties under this Accord are: a. release of political hostages held at the Parliament Complex b. the restoration of law and order as soon as practicably possible c. the return of all service personnel (who shall be reinstated to their service status quo before May 19, 2000), and the return of arms, ordnance and stores to the RFMF. 2.
The H/IMG shall promulgate a Decree on or before Thursday 13th July, 2000 to come into force on Thursday, July 13, 2000 to include provisions for:
a. The establishment of the position of an Interim President and Interim Vice President who shall be nominated and appointed by the BLV.
b. Transferring Executive Authority from the H/IMG to the Interim President on Thursday, 13th July 2000. Effective as at the transfer of executive authority, all Ministers appointed by the H/IMG, pursuant to that power, are deemed to have resigned from their respective portfolios.
c. Vesting power in the Interim President to establish an Interim Civilian Government (ICG) under a Ministerial format to govern the nation from Thursday July 13, 2000 for a period of 24 months in order to return the nation to constitutional rule; and to replace the current Military Appointed Interim Civilian Government.
d. Vesting power in the Interim President to appoint, in consultation with the BLV, a Constitutional Review Commission with an appropriate Terms of Reference.
e. Convening a BLV meeting on Thursday 13th July 2000 to appoint an Interim President and an Interim Vice President. 3. The H/IMG is to promulgate on Thursday 13 July, 2000, a Decree to grant immunity to all persons who allegedly commits the offence of treason in connection with the actions of the GSG on May 19, 2000. The Decree is to cover offences committed between May 19 and July 13, 2000 (both dates inclusive) and also to cover other persons who allegedly committed offences which are covered within the meaning of "political offences" as defined under the Decree.
It is a condition of the grant of immunity under the Decree that: (a) political hostages held at the Parliamentary Complex be released on the date of the BLV meeting. (b) Service personnel involved in the political takeover, are to be reinstated to their respective service status quo before May 19, 2000 and the return of arms, ordinance and stores to the RFMF pursuant to clauses 5 below. 4.
The RFMF shall, upon the signing of this Accord, immediately repeal the Military Exclusion Zone Decree before the meeting of the BLV. 5. Parties shall return all deployed operational stores and personnel to their respective garrisons as soon as practicable after the release of the hostages. Signed by the parties here to on the day and date herein before written.
Ratu Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and Head of the Interim Military Government of Fiji (witnessed by the Turaga na Qaranivalu, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata) Ilikini Naitini aka George Speight as leader of the Taukei Civilian Takeover Group (witnessed by the Turaga na Qaranivalu, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata)
Fiji Coup Supplement