The chief justice's sacrifice is a sad day for PNG
24 May 2012
BY KEITH JACKSON & TWITTER
LATEST TWITTER FEEDS FROM PORT MORESBY:
2000 (AEST) - Chief Justice Salamo has been charged under section 54 of the Criminal Code and will face Committal Court tomorrow [Tavurvur]
1740 [AEST] - Tavurvur @Tavurvur - It also appears that CJ Injia Salamo has agreed to be charged with "sedition" if peace is maintained in the Supreme Court
Tavurvur @Tavurvur - It is clear to me that no appropriate warrant was issued by any relevant bench. CJ Salamo has sacrificed himself. It's a sad day for PNG
Liam Fox @liamfoxpng - Chief Justice Sir Salamo says his attempted arrest sets a dangerous precedent. Says he fears for his safety & democracy in PNG
1630 (AEST) - CJ Salamo, Registrar for the National/Supreme Court Ian Augerea, J Kirriwom and J Gavara-Nanu have surrendered [Tavurvur tweet]
Earlier - There were scene of chaos in Port Moresby this afternoon after deputy prime minister Belden Namah, together with police and soldiers, attempted and then succeeded in arresting Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and other judicial officers.
Sir Salamo locked himself in his chambers for some hours before surrendering to polkice and, it seems, soldiers.
Earlier this week the Court declared Sir Michael Somare to be the constitutionally-determined leader of Papua New Guinea.
Since then there has been a number of unsuccessful attempts to reconvene Parliament, presumably with the intent of seeking to override this ruling.
Mr Namah says the Chief Justice will be charged with treason and sedition.
Upon arriving at the Supreme Court, Namah is said to have shouted "This country is bigger than Injia!".
It is not known whether there was a warrant for the Chief Justice's arrest and, if so, wehere this may have come from.
Blogger Tavurvur tweeted that it was "very possible" that prime minister Peter O'Neill may have not been consulted about this action.
Link here to read Tavurvur's background to this afternoon's dramatic events
Belden Namah is a puppet and he does not care about the big picture of things he does and speaks of.
He is always putting the O'Neill government at ransom and making it look otherwise.
Do not allow him to take PM seat as he will simply "dictate".
And by the way, that is what he is working towards.
Posted by: Nelson Gunesys | 25 May 2012 at 06:26 AM
Todays siege at the court house in Waigani by Belden Namah with police and soldiers, and the charging of Chief Justice Injia for sedition; puts me in mind of King Charles and a few hundred soldiers storming the House of Commons in the early 1640s to arrest five MPs for alleged treason.
When challenged as to the whereabouts of the five MPs, Speaker, Lenthall, said something along the lines of -
"If it pleases your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this House, but as the members are pleased to direct me, whose servant I am in this place".
When they couldn't get to the Chief Justice's chambers today, the Registrar of the Court was apparently instructed to locate the CJ and bring him to the police.
Although he would have been far from amused, I wonder what reply Court Registrar Ian Augerea gave to the police and soldiers today.
Posted by: Arthur Smedley | 24 May 2012 at 09:59 PM
I say Namah is an outright dictator and does not deserve to be even a leader.
Papua new Guinea must not vote him or his party candidates back into power at these elections.
We can already see what he is capable of.
Posted by: Frank Kaupa | 24 May 2012 at 09:45 PM
In the long run, efficiency is only sustainable if it leads to effectiveness and effectiveness is only sustainable if it leads to legitimacy.
Almost nothing is efficient in PNG so we can forget about it.
When they seized power from Somare, the O'Namah mob may have been pragmatic and effective but they did so illegitimately and therefore they were never going to be sustainable as a government.
They have no roots, no history to which they can gain legitimacy outside the written law, the most fertile soil of legitimacy from which every citizen has roots...
The judges have my respect for what they have done, it may not look pretty... but sometimes, if you have taken a wrong turn, the only option to get where you want to go is to walk all the way back to the fork in the road where you took that wrong turn to correct yourself.
Perhaps today, we are once again at that fork in the road..
Posted by: Poyap J Rooney | 24 May 2012 at 08:08 PM
Maybe O'Neill and Somare can now meet with the Governor General and sort out this confusion.
I can't understand how a deputy prime minister can imagine that he has the power to go about arresting the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice and the other Supreme Court judges have upheld what they see is the main problem. They seem determined not to have it "swept under the mat".
Posted by: Mrs Barbara Short | 24 May 2012 at 07:31 PM
Further indication that O'Neill has no control over Namah (was he a puppet prime minister to serve the needs of the financial backers of Namah?).
Another example of the consequences of a lack of effective investigative journalism in PNG. Need a sponsor for a new category in the Crocodile Prize.
Posted by: Laurence Quinlivan | 24 May 2012 at 07:16 PM
It is not an overstatement to say Namah's actions today is dictatorial.
Posted by: David Kitchnoge | 24 May 2012 at 05:20 PM
Let's see if the Aussie government really supports the independence of PNG's judiciary.
These judges will lock up Namah on contempt of court as soon as they get the right opportunity. Who would blame them?
Posted by: Blair Price | 24 May 2012 at 03:34 PM