#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Amnesty International: Fiji abusers can only be punished if citizens tell their story

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Amnesty International: Fiji abusers can only be punished if citizens tell their story

BEATEN: Ben Padarath
Recent revelations about the brutalising of Fiji citizens, like that of the young professional who says he was abused by former land force commander Pita Driti in 2007, clearly shows the regime had a deliberate policy to degrade and torture citizens. The military goons could have easily just 'scared' citizens but that wasn't enough for them - they had to leave lasting damage.

The world is aware of what is happening in Fiji but until something really happens and the abusers (whether they were following orders or not) are brought to justice, Amnesty International has some good advice to citizens: make your story count and document it.  Amnesty's New Zealand advocacy and government relations manager, Chris Kerr, answered the following questions on behalf of the organisation.

PINGED: Bainimarama and son, Meli.
1) Can Fiji make a case to the ICC for Frank Bainimarama to be charged for human rights abuse?
The ICC is governed by the Rome Statute, which at present gives the ICC jurisdiction over the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Torture can be prosecuted by the ICC as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

In order to be prosecuted as an act of genocide it has to be committed against a person or persons belonging to a national, ethnical, racial or religious group and it has to be intended to destroy, in whole or in part, that group. It has to be conducted as a part of a broader pattern of similar conduct calculated at destruction of the group in question.
Prosecuted as crimes against humanity the act of torture must be committed as part of a “widespread and systematic” attack against civilian population. The ICC can prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 when the Rome Statute entered into force.

2) Would Fiji need the support of New Zealand or Australia to do this?
No, Article 17 of the Rome Statute states that the ICC is able to exercise jurisdiction with respect to crimes under its jurisdiction if:
a) A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by a State Party
b) A situation in which one or more of such crimes appears to have been committed is referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations; or
c) The Prosecutor has initiated an investigation in respect of such a crime.

Regarding the third option, article 15 of the Rome Statute gives the prosecutor the power to investigate crimes on its own initiative from information gained. This information can come from any source including from individuals, non-government organisations or any other source. However, note again that there must be allegations of crimes that fall within the court’s jurisdiction. 

The primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law lies with the state where these crimes are alleged to have been committed. 

The ICC cannot prosecute cases which had been already or are at present, investigated or prosecuted by another State unless such investigation or prosecution is not genuine and aims at protecting the alleged perpetrators from prosecution by the ICC. The ICC can only prosecute cases of sufficient gravity. 

The case also has to be ruled admissible by a Pre-Trial Chamber before its prosecution can start.

3) In practical terms, who would actually take such a case. Amnesty International, the Fiji pro-democracy movement or a single individual?
Cases before the ICC can be initiated by the ICC prosecutor acting on his own initiative or if they are referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council or a State Party to the Rome Statute.

BEATEN: Sam Speight.
4) From information already gathered, does Fiji have a good case?
AI cannot make this kind of assessment.

5) Is Amnesty International aware of most of the abuse in Fiji or have some cases gone unreported?
Amnesty is aware of cases of human rights violations in Fiji which we have investigated or have been brought to our attention.  We welcome any information provided to us about human rights violations in Fiji and all other countries.

In relation to the UN, information about human rights violations can be provided to its Suva Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Information on how to do this can be found in the Issues section of the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/

6) What does Amnesty International think about the recent Roko Ului Mara statement Frank Bainimarama beat three women pro-democracy workers at camp?
Amnesty International is deeply concerned by growing evidence of torture and other ill-treatment that has, and continues, to occur in Fiji. The most recent allegations from Tevita Mara further highlight the need to investigate all such reports. Those responsible for human rights violations must be held accountable for their actions.

7) What can Amnesty do with this information?
Amnesty International can work with a variety of partners including individuals, governments, non-governmental organisations, and regional and multi-national organisations to build pressure for an end to human rights violations. The more information we have, the more effective we can be.

8) How does Fiji's human rights record compare with other countries? In the Pacific and worldwide?
Amnesty International does not compare the human rights records of different countries, not least because we cannot guarantee that we are fully informed about every human rights abuse that occurs in every country.

Nevertheless, we are extremely concerned by the abrogation of Fiji’s Constitution, the absence of the rule of law and an independent judiciary, and the suppression of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Fiji. Whether in Fiji, Myanmar, or Iran, it is within such a climate of impunity that human rights abuses thrive. Indeed, the mounting allegations and evidence of ill-treatment and torture in Fiji is testament to that fact.

9) What can Fiji citizens do to help highlight the abuse that's taking place in their country?
It is of course up to the people of Fiji what they would do, but Amnesty International stands in solidarity with them for human rights protection there.

Firstly, it is crucial that people in Fiji do nothing to compromise their own safety. If, however, it is safe to do so, the most important thing people in the country can do is provide their fellow citizens, the United Nations, other governments in the region and human rights organisations such as Amnesty with as much information as possible.

As already mentioned, the single largest reason human rights abuses continue is because of a lack of accountability. People can only be held to account if evidence of their abuses is documented and made available. 

Question: Who are the people we can trust to lead a new, free Fiji?


Anonymous said...

The picture of these 2 says it all about their military professionalism, "arms crossed"

Must Know said...

Does that mean that Meli will be done for abuse as well? W

Dead Serious said...

According to me Sharon Smith Johns is just as guilty as Frank Bainimaraama, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and senior military officers. Whoever is preparing a case, and I hope they, are must include the former sales manager from Australia.

Anonymous said...

Where was Amnesty International in 1987 and 2000 coups?

Anonymous said...

Didn't we just have someone else over the weekend reveal a cousin who was abused? So what's happened there? These are the things that need to be documented

Anonymous said...

too right anon 9.23pm - maybe there supported the coup...

SEMI MEO said...

Do we really have to be convinced by mega money spinners like Amnesty International to wake up to the thuggey now prevalent in beloved Fiji?

As we blog, probably other money spinners like Brussels based “International Crisis Group” waiting at the peripheries may be “hoping” we implode so their report writing to justify their existence quickly moves to beg more million from mega blind Financers.

Then you have the Billion dollar money machine..yep..the over glorified United Nations…where commissions, commission a commission to commission a flimsy piece of paper while millions die in poverty, and refugees explodes.

These are all Retirement haven for many influential world leaders, and job for the boys and girls in the elite diplomatic club for charasmaticformer Foreign Ministers, to former Prime Ministers from Mongolia to NZ to Africa.

All we are saying is at the end it is our backyard and problem…let’s find a local solution, shall we??

Anonymous said...

@anon 09.23..enuf mada of thinking of the past now...we in the year 2011...bringing 1987 back to this equation wont do us any good..lets concentrate on the current issue at hand..not 1987...move on

Anonymous said...

Anon@9.23 Hey, pot stirring Anon of the Graham Davis/Thakur Ranjit ilk: quit trying to make out nobody cared about the victims of the those coups because you-know-who were victims. We did.

Anonymous said...

Bens photo a real joke. Day after that hearing I saw Ben walking around flagstaff normally. What a show.

TURUKAWA said...

Frank bainimarama ppression of the mind is the worst symptom under dictatorships, even possibly worse than the killings and physical abuse of the people. It is the never ending lies and deceptions of indoctrination and the dogma stuff. It is the constant brainwash to force you to see the right in the wrong, and to say it is white when it is black, day in day out, for decades.

You can see it in all this false propaganda used currently by the dictators in the Middle East to hang on to their power, all this talk about international conspiracies, terrorists, armed infiltrators etc. It is the biggest insult to human intelligence, the underestimation of human logic. Everyone knows it is a big lie, even a five year old child. Have you seen the old film “Z”, which I think was about the dictatorship in Greece some 30 years ago?

In the age of internet, satellite media and social media (Facebook), mobile etc, there is nothing anymore to hide, everyone knows everything, the truth, but dictators keep at it with their dialectics and manipulations. The whole world knows what the fact is, but this is possibly still not relevant.

fijis present problem can be solved only by the fijiam people.

Anonymous said...

When When WHEN
when is the righteous government

Going to charge Rabuka

He committed the same crime as Speight but worse

We love you frank but please be fair with this

Because you got rid of the consitushon you can arrest him

When is this going to happen?

keleni said...

@ Anon 11.02,so if Ben was putting up a show, does that justify the inhumane treatment of the pple by the army and bainicicinivuaka?

Anonymous said...

roks...kua na moce tiko na rumu ni nas..me lai tei na dalo..lol

Radiolucas said...

@ Anon(s) 9:23pm and 9:44pm "Where was Amnesty International in 1987 and 2000 coups?"

Amnesty International reviews and stands up for the HUMAN RIGHTS of civilians, not a judge of politics.

This is essentially the reason why the current crop of regime abusers are so much worse than anything we ever saw before - they have NO respect for human rights and are willing to engage in this sort of behaviour in a regime-supported, widespread and organised manner.

Accordingly, AI is reviewing their behaviour.

Aside from this we will be documenting more accounts of abuse for formal charges to be laid before the ICC.

If you believe that it is somehow "unfair" that the AI is singling out the regime for what they are doing, perhaps you should go talk it out with yourself in the mirror - because you are probably a perpetrator of these acts or just another slack-jawed, morally bankrupt apologist for the regime.

Anonymous said...

i think Peter Waqavonovono is the person I trust to lead a new - FREE FIJI

Anonymous said...

@Semi Meo

From your recent postings, can you confirm you have changed your views and gone to the dark side?

Ex-Lelean (Varani House)

Anonymous said...

@anon 11.02...and so what..!!..he got beaten up..walking normally after the hearing doesnt justify what them goons did to him..they deserve whats coming to them..end off..!!

Anonymous said...

may lauans i have spoken to are ashamed of roko ului. they say they tired ot giving soli for yasana ko lau, but, no accountability. i spoke to a few people who were taken up, the stories are the same, roko ului and driti gave orders and were present so, pls leave FB out of it for now. i still question roko ului's intentions/reasons.
interesting that the 'democratic dictator' of samoa getting into the soup. apia is too small for him to know how to advice on fiji's problems.

Anonymous said...

Please may I say this, why has Felix Anthony not come forward about his beatings, he was taken in by the military.
He must know that he was in the wrong, some people have come forward what they did was right or wrong they have opened to the world, why hasn,t he come out to tell his story, what the union is going to fight for him, not in his life, if amnesty international want to help then he must come out and talk. But he knows to well that he did wrong and that is why he was taken in.
His whole family knows that he was taken in. We the people of Fiji that once supported him knows what happened. We don't support him for what he has done, you do the crime to do the time so the saying goes, the world must shee this, yes absuse is wrong, but get the whole picture first.
Then take action if need be.
Felix Anthony is a crook , stealing money is his game,
Shame on you Felix we don't want people like you and Dan running the union or the country, all Felix Anthony did was travel and bull sh.t the people when he went traveling around the world pretending to work.
We know what you did Felix Anthony and you will pay big time, question his big fat brother Martin,, another crook, and a lier, crooked everyone now wanting the people he crooked to help him, Martin Anthony, is a big crook, he ripped up friends and thousands of us, made us cook, for him, clean his house, and treated up like shit, like his brother Felix Anthony.
Your time has come. Hah hah ha lol

Anonymous said...

please do remind us of our past failings to justify the current incidents of abuse, malpractice,self-enrichment,nepotism and sheer shameful outbursts by this illegal regime. The new order being espoused is designed to benefit a few and you all know who they are, The likes of ranjit singh,croz,nik naidu and the apparent supporters within Fiji have real personal agenda and their responses ought to be assessed in that paradigm

Tui Viti said...

Watched ASK on Fiji One News last night, commenting on the RUM extradition papers. A very sublime half -dead performance. Not his usual charismatic and energetic self.Must be the stress or he was trying very hard not express his frustrations. What it is, its coming home to roost!!!

Tui Viti said...

"Colonel Tikoitoga said that the players were picked on how they performed and whatever decision New Zealand has on Manasa Saulia and Leone Nakarawa, they will follow it."


.....so much for the boycott!!! Vidhya, what now?Forget about rugby, just concentrate on taking a squad to the SPG...

Wele Mele!! Moce Jo!!

g9 said...

anon 11.02 pm - why dont you go through what ben went through? we can then see how you would shape up. in any event do condone military sanctioned torture of fiji citizens do you? bloody idiot.

Naililili said...

Excellent article, this is what we need.

We need information on what should we do to build up a case against the dictatorship in Fiji, the type of data to gather, relevant areas to focus information gathering on to strengthen case and also importantly the processes we need to follow.

Now that we have had our collegues in Australia organised themselves into an association to fight for democracy in Fiji they may be best to lead the rest of us in Fiji and other countries work together to prosecute the current dictatorship in Fiji in the International Court for crimes against humanity, tortute and murders etc in Fiji.

The article emphasises the importance of accurate documentation of incedences of crimes committed by the current illegal Govt in Fiji.

It is therefore very important for those who have been, and future victims of such state crimes to put facts on paper, the details of the treatments metted out by the military and Police on them.

Very important to also include the names of torturers if possible, even if the identities have not been verified. Time, dates, places and witnesses if any are important data.

Very important that there is a central place to collect such data so an email address should be set up by our organising body in Aussie to collect, vet, authenticate classify and store such information.

Photos of scenes of crimes and thugs commiting the crimes will be useful if available.

The end result of these is that we build up strong cases aginst the illegal muederers and their supporting chorus of thugs like Eyearse etc to be tried in the International Court or even in the local Courts after Fiji returns to democracy

Anonymous said...

thot ben padarath killed a women at the seawall....how come he wasnt in prison?

Eye Witness said...

Good practical information and all too true: We do not want to be in the posititon again where we try to guess who it was who tortured or abused us. No point second guessing we know enough or point the finfer at the wrong person or having a situation where one soldier says it was another. Truth, they were al doing it from top to bottom and turning a blind eye because that was the soldier culture, albeit an ugly one.

Thumbs up Fiji said...

Thank you C 4.5, this is the kind of thing we need to know. I think that the legal background for a human rights abuse and perhaps even a genocide case is provided by Khaiyums strategy to exterminate Fijian culture and tradition versus the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Khaiyums thesis provides indisputable evidence that his regimes aims to remove those indigenous rights and the actions of the regime so far have shown that they are prepared to stop at nothing to achieve their objective. And their actions include documented cases of torture, unlawful detention and death in custody. Some may say that genocide requires more people being killed Pol Pot or Syria style. This argument does not hold much water as it is safe to assume that what we see now is the beginning of atrocities against the population. After all it took thugs like Gaddafi, Assad and Saleh a couple of decades to wage full scale war against their populations. In order to prevent such an outcome for Fiji, we must initiate ICC proceedings now, and not when the streets of Suva are flooded with our blood.

G9 said...

why not lobby nz and aust to petition icc as a member state against fiji? as for anon 10.57, ben was imprisoned for that offence. he has served his time. leave him alone and focus on the more important issues like freeing fiji.

Anonymous said...

It is true people are being tortured. A member of our family went through this and for so many months later did not recover. Like we know this person will never ever forget what was the torture like. It will all come out. God sees everything

Anonymous said...

Aiyaz says that regime does not stoop to this low level.

Not sure what level he has already stooped to by his PER.

Anonymous said...

Either aiyaz is such a busy person that he does not see the peoples suffering or he does not want to see. Maybe he is so comfortable that he has forgotten. Remember god sees everything. You have a child about to be born. May god be merciful to the child. You have not been merciful to anyone!

Varani. said...

Only one person capable and qualified to lead Viti into a new democratic era - Solomon exile Joni Madraiwiwi - but given what he's endured these past few years both professionally & personally - key question is whether he'll accept?

Fiji Mojo said...

Thumbs up in Fiji said@11.12am. Just to back this comment up, people we need to take responsibility, too, for documenting the truth instead of leaving it bogs like C4.5 to squirrel out the the information from 'family member' 'friend' and 'reliable sources'. It's time we stood for something as well instead. Having said that, I want to thank the people who have voluntarily told their stories like Sam Speight, who put himself on the line (and criticism) to make public his information.

Anonymous said...

Ben is not an innocent man at all; well known con man, killer, womaniser, curruption, he just got the fast track to getting what was coming his way. I do not support what may have happened in the military camp to other innocent people but for some reason I am finding very hard to feel sad at this picture.

SEMI MEO said...

@ faceless and nameless Ex-Lelean of the Vara...ni House June 20, 2011 1:10 AM..

….may be best you take a walk up Baker Hall, throw your honorable carcass at the altar and cry "God, why have I forsake my name you ordained me with??..God may just tell you”…come to this side, where the brave keep the name”…

My view in this particular topic is simply..why look offshore to tell us we need help..of course, the International press wanna mint our adversity to their scooping advantage…the mega NGO’s for their justification to be continuous funded.

Where does that leave us??.....mmmmm……back to square minus one??

..oh..you now rise up from the alta and go enjoy the breeze at veitalacagi...

Anonymous said...

Yes all documented and will go to amnesty international. Just another person who has been terrorized and beaten up.

The thugs probably feel it is quite normal. aiyaz likes to think they have not stooped so low. When people are terrorized, is that normal? If your child and your family are beaten up, will you be happy and just accept it? And to top it all, we can't retaliate because you have the guns and we can't say anything because there is no freedom of speech basically no one to speak to. Just bear it, that is what fiji has amounted to. All your doing. May god bless fiji

Anonymous said...

I think Aiyaz should address the Fijian People (i-Taukei) in Fijian, (I mean i-Taukei, wei lei, this is so confusing!) language to explain his thesis!

Coup 4.5 said...

For those who haven't read Khaiyum's thesis, you can access it via our archives or our Free Fiji Media page, via our Facebook.-C4.5

Coup 4.5 said...

Please, may I say this? Why has Felix Anthny not come forward about his beatings? He was taken in by the military. He must know that what he did was wrong. Some people have come forward but not him. Why hasn't he come out to tell his story? How can Amnesty International help him if he doesn't talk? But he knows that what he did was wrong and that is why he was taken in. His whole family know he was taken in. We the people of Fiji know what has happened and we don't support him for what he has done. You do the crime you do the time, so the saying goes. Comment edited-C4.5

Anonymous said...

Well...well...well..Ben got beaten up and looked for legal help from Anwar Khan the lawyer.

Khan gave the sympathy that Ben wanted and Khan then got the boot from the military where his office, his shop" Auzzie Price Fighter and house got the cleanup campaign.

Khan not to be trusted. He did not stand for Roko Lui (his so called best friend)....Laamu soona Khan.

Anonymous said...

@Semi Meo

Matai na vosa iko boy!
Iko sa cabe oti ena Baker Hall?
I'm sure you had done what you just preached and looked north west from the baka tree at baker hall.

Cheers Old Boy!!

Thumbs Up Fiji..

Anonymous said...

Amnesty International can you do something for the Aussie bloke who got into dention by the USA in Guantanamo Bay with false claims by the Howrd Govt or for that matter the millions of Iraqis that were innocently bombed for the so called weapons of mass destruction.Someone committed murder and looks like they got away with it.But when someone else does my, my they soon running around looking for them. If we need to go back a few more years for the innocent Vietnamese peasants murdered by the USA & also Aussies, inclusing the innocent Laos & Cambodians bomded day in day out! Fiji's issues about detentions whilst not in the same league, is so small for Amensty International to worry about. Maybe we could include in the same issue how the Aussies are now treating Asylum seekers-who they are now terrorising -knowing fully well Alqaeda is no where around in Afghanistan-they pretending to free the country from whom! The ones that to get out of Afghanistan arethe occupiers and includes Iraq.Its now innocent civilians who are fighting for their lands in Afghanistan against someone they consider occupiers! Or maybe we should help the Indigenous people of Aussie who are living in absolute squalor while the white fallow ripes the heart out of his land & country.Fiji's problems was brought about the likes of those who wanted Fiji to be lead by just a Fijian & everyone else go to hell!Well guess why there are not to many takers now to get rid of Bainimarama??Doesn't take a University degree to figure that one out!

Semi Meo said...

@Anonymous 2:14

SEMI MEO said...

To the i-Bothy who just i-choro my name.

...shame on you i-Nameless.
...veitacinibata i-Yuz,
...tabalena bata i-Bainimarama

So when will the Commonwealth Secretariat come knocking, again?

and the Pacific Forum?

and the African Union (Fiji as honorary member of their Coup club)

or may be ASEAN now that we’re both small India and a South China Islands.

Why not we begin a bit a dialogue between ourselves….but, first let’s know who we talking to..at the moment, no can do.. as many….”sa rere tiko ko Pita”

Anonymous said...

Field has written one of the best balanced pieces about the reality of Fiji. He has openly rubbished Bani and Aiyaz but he still writes a view very few want to believe, including Baini or his opponents and contributors on this site - all coups are failed coups and nobody wins. That's what Michael is saying. It also makes you realise there are a lot of self-opportunists. We need to be controlled by an outside power to get things rght including limited military power and start again. Thanks Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara for making things Fiji what a mess it is today.-Comment edited. C4.5

Anonymous said...

dont be deluded - international court only deal with genocide ie thousands have been killed like in Rwanda and Bosnia.....they not gonna waste time on a small time irritant like frank

Semi Tabetabe said...

@Semi Meo
Since you're advocating "dialogue". why don't you go and dialogue with Bainimarama. If you go and stand at the gate in Delainabua, he will invite you in and give you the traditional Fijian welcome.
May I suggest you talk to Avisai from Sydney first.

Anonymous said...

AI should do somthing for Fiji.

Nadarivatu said...

In addition to what Naililili said above regarding the importnce of accurate documentation of individual cases of torture, human violations and abuses by the military and Police, it is very important that victims must record on paper their experiences as soon as possible after the event.

Time normally can blurr the memories so documenting the events as soon as possible will ensure accuracy and events are recorded for future use against the military thugs and their leaders.

Also if written recording is not possible, audio/sound recording will be good as well and again to be made as soon as possible after the events of torture, abuse take place.

To ensure safe keeping of such records suggest several copies are made and copy distributed to UN Human Rights Org, to one or two very trusted acquaitances for safe keeping....or consider sending copy for confidential keeping with Fiji Democracy Org in Aussie with instructions on conditions of use for info.

Thumbs Up for Democracy in Fiji

Vereniki Tabetabe said...

Semi, while you are there, why don't you "dialogue" about the 11 to 14 year old kids getting pregnant in Cakaudrove.
May be your friend Voreqe,instead of covering his a### with all that money, can spare some to cover the little kids.
Does he actually care about the kids in Cakaudrove or is he just interested in the bauxite?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can take the regime to the ICC on a count of genocide. Because there is nothing of that kind here. Sure there is torturing but the RFMF is not doing it to exterminate an entire ethnic group, its more so to intimidate and create fear. So i don't know where the genocide thing came in!

Radiolucas said...

@ Anon 2:19pm

"I don't think you can take the regime to the ICC on a count of genocide."

Too right - you are the only person talking about it.

Genocide is not the only warcrime the ICC can prosecute them for. Don't worry - you will get it soon enough.

SEMI MEO said...

To Ratu Tabetabe...this is my email address:semimeo@gmail.com.

..I'll give you my Mob phone..then we shall "dialogue.

..I dare you!!

Anonymous said...

@Semi Meo
This is Voreqe.
I want to dialogue with you.

Viti Forward said...

More information like this please C4.5