The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Nauru calls on media to report legal reform facts

Nauru's President has questioned why media outlets refuse to report the facts behind the country's recent reform of the legal system, including any acknowledgment of the three highly respected judges on the Supreme Court.

President Baron Waqa said the continual misreporting over the rule of law in Nauru contributed to the recent decision by the New Zealand Government to suspend aid to the judicial sector.
"It is frustrating that no journalist has accurately reported our appointment of three judges including a Chief Justice, compared to only one judge previously," he said.
"Instead they are believing the lies told to them by the former Chief Justice and magistrate, who are playing a political game to support their former political allies that the Nauruan people rejected at the last election."
Mr Waqa said the previous system was open to "gross corruption" and asked what the former Chief Justice and magistrate were trying to achieve with their continued public comments.
"You must ask what they lost in terms of personal income and benefits for them to be so upset this long after Nauru has moved on.
"They are using the media to paint our Government in a negative light and the media is hanging on their every word without doing any fact-checking."
The President called on the media to report that not only was the rule of law being strongly upheld, but that the competency of the current judges ensured the full separation of powers between the executive government and the judiciary.
"We do not interfere in the legal process in Nauru. While we will plead the Government's case on many issues, ultimately it's up to the courts."
"The problem is that much of the Australian and New Zealand media continue to misrepresent what is happening in Nauru.
"Clearly it suits their political agenda more to paint a negative picture and ignore the facts."
Details of Nauru judges are as follows:
Chief Justice Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi from Fiji- Justice Madraiwiwi is a Law Lord and Privy Councillor of the Kingdom of Tonga. He is a former Vice President of Fiji. Chief Justice designate Madraiwiwi was a judge of the High Court of Fiji (1997-2000); Member of the  Sugar Industry Tribunal (1992 - 1997); Permanent Arbitrator for trade disputes (1991-1997); member of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2009-2011). He is highly respected as a jurist, intellectual and lawyer and is well known in the Pacific region and beyond. He has more than 10 years' experience as a judge or judicial officer of equivalent rank.
Justice Mr Mohammed Shafi Khan from Australia - Justice Mohammed Khan has over 30 years legal experience. He was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of High Court of Fiji in 1979, admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of ACT in 1987, admitted as a solicitor of the High Court of Queensland in 1988 and admitted as a barrister and solicitor of High Court of Victoria in 1988. He has more than 17 years' experience as a magistrate in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
Justice Ms Jane Elizabeth Hamilton-White from Australia - Justice Hamilton White has more than twenty years' legal experience having worked in the Caribbean and the Pacific as a senior lawyer. She has served as a Principal Magistrate in the Solomon Islands where she spent time also as a senior state prosecutor in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. She is a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia - Admitted to practice 17th December 1998. Ms Hamilton White was the first female appointee to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Nauru.