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Fiji urges UN probe of 'illegal' Australia intervention during 2006 coup

[JURIST] The United Nations should investigate Australia for its alleged military intervention in Fiji during the December 2006 military coup [JURIST report] in Fiji, the Fiji Human Rights Commission [official website] said in a report [PDF text] released Tuesday. The commission said that Australia's naval presence in the region and its alleged deployment of soldiers violated the principle of sovereign equality and nonintervention under Article 2 of the UN Charter [text]. Australia has denied deploying soldiers to Fiji, and says its naval assets were only used to evacuate Australian nationals.

The current acting Fijian government has argued that the coup was legal [JURIST report] because Fijian President Ratu Josefa Iloilo [official profile] has reserve powers that permit the president to dismiss the government and appoint new leaders. The government's arguments came earlier this month in a lawsuit [JURIST report] brought against the acting government by former Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase [BBC profile], who says that the coup that ousted him was illegal and that it was orchestrated by armed forces chief and current self-appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama [BBC profile]. Lawyers for the acting government say that Bainimarama sought and received special permission from Iloilo to dismiss Qarase as prime minister, but Qarase argues that Bainimarama threatened Iloilo with a complete takeover if the president did not agree to the dismissal. Australia's ABC News has more.

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