Bishops criticise decision to suspend the chief justice

In Papua New Guinea the Catholic Bishops’ conference has expressed concern over the conflict between the executive and judicial arms of government. The Chief Justice, who is heading a Supreme Court panel which is to decide whether the election of the prime minister is constitutional, was suspended on allegations of mismanagement, a move which triggered the arrest of Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney General for contempt of the Supreme Court.

The Bishops’ statement says the decision  to suspend the chief justice appears to them, and to many fair-minded people, to go against the independence of the judiciary.

“The court should be allowed to complete its business and establish the freedom of the truth,” the Bishops’ stament said.

“Under this principle of the separation of powers the three arms of government are expected to respect each others’ independence and to co-exist in their duties and responsibilities for the common good of the people.”

The statement says Papua New Guinea is already facing problems of corruption, poverty, unemployment, law and order, and many more and it is not a time for political instability and infighting.

“We appeal to all involved in this dispute to place the peace and good of the nation above self-interest.”

The Papua New Guinea government has now lifted the suspension of the Chief Justice saying the move was in the national interest to prevent a constitutional crisis.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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