Having an independent judiciary in Tonga has worked to protect our freedom. Without a doubt, we have been proud of being able to maintain a Judiciary acting on the basis of what is right and just as according to our constitution, not just what is popular. Over the years we have been proud to witness a Judiciary able to protect ordinary citizens from political groups, big business, big government, and sometimes even each other.
We all have a duty to support and protect an independent Judiciary. To do otherwise would be to violate and corrupt the basic tenets of our hopes to achieve a more democratic form of government.
When special interest groups, media or groups with specific agendas mis-state facts, withhold facts or attack the judges and court decisions that don’t happen to support their particular cause, they do a great disservice. While the Executive (privy council) and the Legislative (parliament) branches of government are more directly impacted by popular demand, our judges and courts must follow our laws and constitution. Our system of government requires judges and courts to make hard and sometimes unpopular decisions – that is their sworn duty.
For the Crisis Centre it is critical that our judiciary maintains its independence especially as we are now supporting legislative reform in the area of violence against in women in Tonga. Moreover, all the rights secured to Tongan citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing and mean nothing, unless guaranteed to them by an independent and honest Judiciary.