FORMER chief justice and now Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet has condemned individuals or groups involved in threatening the legal system and the rule of law in Papua New Guinea.
His comments follow reports of physical attacks and threats upon officers of constitutional institutions such as the Ombudsman, the judiciary and the legal profession in carrying out their duties and responsibilities impartially and without fear or favour in upholding the rule of law.
“When individual members of these institutions, which are the pillars in upholding the rule of law, are physically threatened, intimidated or shot at in their homes which will cause them to fear for their lives in the discharge of their professional duties, then we are in danger of the rule of law being at the mercy of thugs and the criminal element,” he said.
He said when lawyers and law firms begin to withdraw their services from representing clients out of fear for the lives of their lawyers and their families, “we are in danger of going down the slippery slide towards a breakdown of law and order and the rule of law”.
“I support the role of an independent, vibrant and vigorous legal profession to protect the interests of their public clients.
“A vigilant civil society must stand up and protect all professionals from these kinds thuggery.
“I trust that the law enforcement agencies will be truly diligent and thorough in following up on the reported incidents and get to the bottom of those that are behind the cowardly conduct,” he said.