The Law Council of Australia is deeply concerned by the ongoing threat to the rule of law in Papua New Guinea.
The Law Council supports the statement issued by LAWASIA on 25 May and notes under the Papua New Guinea Constitution, Parliament may only exercise authority or direction over the judiciary through legislation.
Law Council of Australia President, Ms Catherine Gale, said the Law Council has previously expressed its concern over the threat posed to the rule of law in Papua New Guinea by political tensions involving members of Parliament and the Judiciary.
“The Law Council makes no comment with regard to the political issues at the heart of recent tensions, however, it is apparent the parties to these issues have been unable to de-escalate the current situation.
“The Law Council is particularly concerned about the implications of the arrest of the chief justice.
“The Law Council urges the caretaker government and the international community to work together to ensure that the elections in June are safe and transparent and respect for the rule of law and its institutions are upheld.”
Ms Gale said the Law Council does not presume to comment on the underlying reasons for the arrest of the chief justice.
“The arrest of a judicial member on charges of sedition, arising out of a judicial pronouncement, is highly unusual and in the absence of overwhelming justification, represents a direct affront to fundamental principles underpinning the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
"The Law Council is watching developments closely and with deep concern", Ms Gale concluded.