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CJ supports ratification of ICCPR and ICESCR

May 9, 2018 7:06 pm

Chief Justice Anthony Gates has come out in support for the ratification on the International Covenant on civil and political rights and the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.

In a submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Gates highlighted that the two UN Conventions would reinforce our own Constitution with the principals behind the conventions incorporated in the 2013 constitution.

Questioned on whether Fiji should consider the ratification with reservations, Gates said the matter would have to be gravely considered.

“One wants to thing very seriously about reservations, sometimes there’s reservations and you wonder why because we generally agreeing with the whole spirit of the matter. As I’ve already indicated even within the ICCPR for instance or the one with the social and economic and political rights, you cannot always apply every right, somebody’s right may have to be suppressed in order to get the greater goods rights in operation.”

The CJ explained that unlike the American Constitution, our Constitution allows judges to look at laws and cases of other jurisdictions that might assist in the interpretation of rights and freedom, under our Bill of Rights.

He says there was a similar provision in the 1997 Constitution.

In earlier cases Gates said judges have enforced rights and referred to the ICCPR and the ICESCR as guiding indicators as to how Fiji law should be interpreted and enforced.

He added that these conventions therefore have already been recognised in the Fiji Courts and their Articles and principals applied.