J.S.C. undecided on merits of H.R.P.P. complaint

The Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.) has written to the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) saying they have not yet decided whether to further pursue the party's complaint about alleged bias and incompetence in the judiciary. 

The complaint was lodged prior to a Court of Appeal decision last Friday that declared the party had been unlawfully presenting itself as Samoa's caretaker Government. 

The ruling instead immediately installed a Government formed by the Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party immediately as the nation's new Government and declaring that it had been so for nearly two months

The initial complaint, dated 2 July and was written by H.R.P.P. secretary, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi. It questioned the competence of the Chief Justice but also implied there was a broader bias against the party within the judiciary. 

The secretary of the commission and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice, Moliei Simi Vaai said the J.S.C. met last week to consider the complaint and wrote to the party to inform them of the progress of their discussions. 

“There are things required from the complainant,” Ms. Vaai told the Samoa Observer in an interview. 

“There is no outcome yet. Its preparations on the assessment that J.S.C. is looking into…that is all I can say.” 

The Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese chairs the Commission alongside former judge Tuiloma Neroni Slade, public representative Letaa Dan Devoe, the Attorney General, Savalenoa Mareva Betham-Annandale and the Ombudsman, Luamanuvao Katalaina Sapolu. 

Ms. Vaai was also asked if the Chief Justice has recused himself from sitting on the complaint she said not yet “because J.S.C. is not yet determining the complaint”. 

“They are still assessing the complaint and how should be dealt with,” she added. 

“There are important things that need to be [submitted] and it’s an important matter that should be looked at carefully. 

“It’s a lot of consideration because the role of J.S.C. is crucial in considering complaint filed before it.”  

The J.S.C. had met earlier last month to discuss the complaint upon being lodged. 

In the letter of complaint, the H.R.P.P. had accused the Chief Justice and his ruling of allegedly being inconsistent with basic legal principles of the law. 

Chief Justice Perese who is a matai was also accused of being unfamiliar with the fa’asamoa and the election rules on bribery and treating to influence voters.  

The party claimed recent rulings by the Supreme Court Justices appear to be legally flawed and are outside the legal boundaries, and without reference to well established precedent set by earlier courts relating to corrupt practice.

The H.R.P.P. has continued to criticise the judiciary alleging it breached the constitution and blaming their bias for a recent string of defeats in court. 

 

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