The Republic of Fiji Military Forces has rejected claims of Colonel Penioni (Ben) Naliva on allegations of human rights violation prior to the 2006 Bainimarama takeover of the Qarase Elected Government.
The RFMF stands by Col Naliva’s appointment as the new Deputy Commander of the 7th Brigade of the Australian Army, indicating that the appointment solidifies Fiji’s Defence relationship with Australia as both defence forces continue to collaborate in various areas with the defence space.
The allegations only surfaced following a news article in the Australian newspaper, highlighting Naliva’s involvement in the alleged brutality and inhumane torture of Fijian human rights activists of the military takeover.
This reporting has forced the Australian Defence Force to investigate the matter into the alleged abuse, involving Deputy Commander of the 7th Brigade of the Australian Army, Col Naliva.
Section 157 of the constitution highlights that absolute and unconditional immunity is irrevocably granted to any person (whether in their official or personal or individual capacity) holding the office of, or holding the office in:
As the case may be the President, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, the RFMF, Police, Fiji Corrections Services, Judiciary, public service or any public office from any criminal prosecution and from any civil or other liability in any court, tribunal or commission, in any proceeding including any legal, military, disciplinary or professional proceedings and from any order or judgment of any court, tribunal or commission, as a result of any direct or indirect participation in the Government from 5 December 2006 to the date of the first sitting of the first Parliament elected after the commencement of the 2013 Constitution, provided however any such immunity shall not apply to any act or omission that constitutes an offence under sections 133 to 146, 148 to 236, 288 to 351, 356 to 361, 364 to 374, and 377 to 386 of the Crimes Decree 2009.
Col Naliva graduated at the Australia War College in 2023.
In a statement, the Australia Army said they were honoured to welcome Colonel Naliva as the new Deputy Commander of the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade.
“This international military partnership has been planned for a long time, and it’s brilliant to see it begin,” the statement said.