The Fijian Government and the European Union (EU) today signed the new “Fiji Access to Justice” programme which is designed to enhance the justice system in the country and provide more access for underprivileged and vulnerable groups.
The Constituent Assembly will be guided by the Fiji Constituent Process (Constitution Assembly and Adoption of Constitution) Decree 2012.
This is a new decree endorsed by cabinet this week to ensure the draft constitution inculcates provisions such as the non-negotiable principles set out by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama during his announcement in March.
“Once the President receives the draft constitution, he will then present it to the constituent assembly, that is governed by the Fiji Constituent Process (Constituent Assembly and Adoption of Constitution) Decree, that is the other set of laws that will apply to them,” said Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the decree sets out the qualification of the members of the assembly, the procedures of the assembly and it also looks at how the media will participate in the process and the provision where the public can hear the proceedings and debate by the assembly.
He said there are also provisions for the continuation of the secretariat of the Constitutional Commission to continue its work for assembly if the assembly wishes.
Once the assembly hands over its review of the draft, the President then forwards it to the Chief Justice, who within seven days shall appoint a five-member tribunal.
This tribunal will then consider whether the draft complies with the provisions of the decree, the non-negotiable principle and the immunity provisions.
“It is their job to ensure that the draft given to the President in fact complies with the decree,” he said.
If the tribunal believes there are certain amendments to be made, the President will give it back to the assembly with the note that they look at these provisions or the clauses that might not be compliant with this decree.
“If it is compliant with the decree, then the President will essentially assent to the Constitution and then that Constitution will become the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji,” he said.