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No where to hide. You have blood on your hands

January 25, 2009

It probably seemed to the Fijian soldier that it is a pretty good motivation to obey any order you’re given, right? Nope. NOT, if the orders were unlawful from the outset. An order which is unlawful does not need to be obeyed and obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Put Fiji’s situation here and we will probably have to enlarge the prisons in Fiji to accommodate every soldier who acted on the unlawful order by dictator Bainimarama to overthrow the legitimate government.

Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.”I was only following orders,” has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn’t work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since.

The first recorded case of an officer using the “I was only following orders” defence dated back to 1799 in the US. During the War with France, Congress passed a law making it permissible to seize ships bound to any French Port. However, when President John Adams wrote the order to authorize the U.S. Navy to do so, he wrote that Navy ships were authorized to seize any vessel bound for a French port, or traveling from a French port. Pursuant to the President’s instructions, a U.S. Navy captain seized a Danish Ship (the Flying Fish), which was en route from a French Port. The owners of the ship sued the Navy captain in U.S. maritime court for trespass. They won, and the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision. The U.S. Supreme Court held that Navy commanders “act at their own peril” when obeying presidential orders when such orders are illegal.

The Vietnam War presented the United States military courts with more cases of the “I was only following orders” defense than any previous conflict. The decisions during these cases reaffirmed that following manifestly illegal orders is not a viable defence from criminal prosecution. In United States v. Keenan, the accused (Keenan) was found guilty of murder after he obeyed in order to shoot and kill an elderly Vietnamese citizen. The Court of Military Appeals held that “the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal.

The reality for all the men and women in the Fiji military uniforms is that you can no longer hide behind the mask of ‘only obeying orders’ knowing that the orders you were given were unlawful…you knew it then and you should know it now that you have blood on your hands, each one of you.

Rusi Varani for SWM

13 Comments leave one →
  1. FijiGirl permalink
    January 25, 2009 6:42 PM

    Idi Amin Dada had unreasonably accused Uganda’s Indian community of ‘milking the cow but refusing to feed it’.

    Vore can be reasonably accused of exactly that offence.

    He is happy to take our cauravou and put guns into their hands, but not willing to give them the education necessary to enable them to think for themselves.

    It has been proven, time and again, that the interim ministers of this illegal regime can say whatever – it makes no difference because the only thing the junta will do is whatever Vore says.

    God bless Fiji

  2. Peace Pipe permalink
    January 25, 2009 8:36 PM

    It is the lack of education that has landed this country in this mess. The highly uneducated commander is a classic case where the lack of it has brought disaster upon the country. Now the illegal misinter of education is telling the nation to be educated. At the other end of the spectrum we have educated people especially in the judiciary including the iag judges and lawyers who blatantly flaunt and twist the law and circumstances to use their argumentative skills to justify a crime. Being educated they think they are too smart and can fool everyone.

    Bole is another loser suckling up to mother pig for nourishment in his bank account since it was completely drained out from his previous two unsuccessful attempts at entering parliament. Now he is talking as if he was elected and has the right to do what he is doing.

  3. Keep The Faith permalink
    January 25, 2009 8:37 PM

    True that FijiGirl!

    What’s more the biggest lesson he will be giving to the future generation of this country is that “I got in this position through the barrel of a gun and you can too”.

    Bole do us all a favour. Your meaningless statements have no place in the ears of children of Fiji because your actions speak louder.

    Go and tell Frank to be READY for jail.

  4. Viti permalink
    January 25, 2009 9:28 PM

    Man FijiGirl, Peace Pipe & Keep The Faith – you summed it up nicely – covered everything.

    Thank you Save The Children Fiji for all your assistance to our children.

    I am sick of hearing Bole’s rants but nothing to ease the burden of struggling families.

    The reality is, these children will have to stop attending school if the Save the Children Fiji did not provide stationary, text books, text books deposits and bus fares.

    These children are either orphaned or come from families whose parents are unemployed.

    It was horrible when I read that assistance will also be given to a child from a single parent who earns less than $70 per week.

    To make matters worse more overseas aid will be stopped if the Illegal Junta does not put the country and the people before themselves and hold elections soon.

    How could a group of people be so thoughtless, uncaring, ignorant, arrogant and foolish not to see that the political crisis and now the aftermath of the floods would worsen the situation? How is it possible for 1 person, let alone a couple with 1 child to survive on $70 per week is beyond ones imagination?

    This was a problem before the 2006 Bainimarama coup and made worse since the Illegal Junta came into power. Fiji’s political instability has ruined the economy making job opportunities zero and poverty on the rise dramatically. The lack of education will only lead to more problems in the future.

    Instead of propping up the military with more money, this money should be invested in the children, the country’s future.

    We would rather be wasting our time finding ways to assist the children than fighting this Illegal Junta to get back what belongs to us – our DEMOCRACY!

    Go on Useless Govt give us some guarantees that the children will continue their education, at least while you remain as the illegal government of Fiji.”

    Bole you are a waste of taxpayer’s money – please retire and grow your own vegies – your wages can go to educating 20 children.

    Eating vegies is not only good for you but tending to your vegie patch is a good healthy pastime for retirees.

  5. Mozzie permalink
    January 25, 2009 10:02 PM

    Yes Bole you should retire – less stressful and you will have plenty of time to work in your vegie patch. It is good therapy!

    I don’t understand, if Frank really cared about every citizen of Fiji he should be at the summit in Port Moresby pleading for humanitarian aid for these innocent children.

    The world is a good place to live in and there are some very good, honest, kind and caring people out there, if treated with respect will only be too happy to give a helping hand.

    If only Frank would realize this!

  6. Snapper permalink
    January 25, 2009 10:23 PM

    Happy Australia Day to all of you!

    Let us hope and pray that all the children of that great island nation of yours has something to be happy about come your Fiji Day!

    I think the NGOs should take over governing Fiji – one thing for sure they will put the children before themselves.

  7. ex Fiji tourist permalink
    January 25, 2009 10:26 PM

    Sorry, this is off-topic, but their is a great article on the illegal judgements @

  8. ex Fiji tourist permalink
    January 25, 2009 10:38 PM

    Following a link on the right hand side of the intelligentsiya page, I went to a business paper which had an article on the PIF and an interview with Mr Key.

    If bananasinpyjamas thinks that the world considers his junta to be legalised by the 3 stooges of the pretend high court [ see comment above ], then he should ask Mr Key personally for this article suggests otherwise.

    “”””Mr Key said the forum was only as strong as its weakest link.

    The coup culture in Fiji was hurting the country.

    “What we can be sure of is an interim illegitimate government in a country which has been dominated by coups is not a recipe for economic success in the Pacific.””””””

    The last sentence says it all, bananasinpyjamas.

    You are fronting, in the eyes of the world, an “illegitimate government”.

  9. ex Fiji tourist permalink
    January 25, 2009 10:46 PM

    @ Snapper

    Your comments have set me thinking:- “I think the NGOs should take over governing Fiji ”

    In the eyes of the poor and the children, they are the ones governing their lives.

    After all, they are the ones who are providing food, school books, pencils, and money to get the children to school.

    Throughout the country, it is the NGOs who are keeping the down-trodden people alive.

    Mean while, bananasinpyjamas employs 200 more green goons of minimal educational standard to provide him with bodyguards.

  10. Viti permalink
    January 26, 2009 6:35 AM

    Thank you EU for humanitarian aid.

    Our children deserve to have an education.

    We have a stubborn dictator who will not be told anything because he and his men are too busy looking after themselves.

    EU gives $2m for education rehabilitation
    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Update: 4:21PM THE European Union has given $2million to assist in rehabilitation efforts after the floods.

    Head of the European Commission Delegation for the Pacific, Wiepke van der Goot, gave a cheque of $2,036,500 to deputy secretary Education Filipe Jitoko.
    The funds will assist 41 schools and over 15,000 primary and secondary school students.
    It will be channelled to schools via the EU-financed Fiji Education Sector Programme.

  11. FijiGirl permalink
    January 26, 2009 4:00 PM

    EFT – the aid to govt will dry up, but good, accountable NGO’s will find foreign aid agencies and donors knocking on their doors instead. It’s not a great or long term solution, but it’s better than donating to a bunch of corrupt, unaccountable fatcat crooks.
    God bless Fiji

  12. Viti permalink
    January 28, 2009 3:57 AM

    This man just angers me – he is at it again Bole says but no positive action from his illegal Govt for our children with struggling parents.

    Help students, says Bole
    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Update: 1:36PM SCHOOL managements have been advised to be sympathetic and patient with parents affected by the floods in the payment of school levies.

    Interim Education Minister Filipe Bole said the ministry will provide free tuition for all students from Class 1 to Form 7.

    “Arrangements could be made and all parties concerned are requested to abide by the decisions made,” he said.

    Mr Bole said if there were any default in payments, the parties concerned should discuss the issue and renegotiate the settlement dates for fees.

  13. ANONYMOUS permalink
    June 9, 2012 4:07 PM

    Your article can be easily compared to a barking dog. I see that you can only bark when you are safe and are under someone else’s protection overseas. If you are to be taken seriously, then come to Fiji and tell us exactly as you have stated in the article. Then, you will see the fun. Your identity is well known to us and so as where you come from, where you worked previously and where you lived in Australia. If I were you, I will shut up and stop talking about things that are irrelevant to you and your families here and overseas. Seriously, you should be on the watch out everyday.

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