RETIRED judge Justice Warwick Andrew will chair a Commission of Inquiry to look into the recent spate of violence at university campuses around the country.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Commission of Inquiry was essential in helping to better understand what transpired in recent weeks, and to prevent a repeat in the future.
Justice Andrew will be supported by a team of technical and legal experts who will be appointed soon.
“We all need answers, right around the country, to understand the factors leading to the escalation of student protests and the acts of violence that we have seen in recent weeks,” he said.
The commission will look into:
- The role of the Student Representative Council;
- The role of the management of the affected universities;
- The role of the police; and,
- Whether there was outside influence and the incitation of students to encourage unrest at the universities.
The full terms of reference for the investigation will be published after they have been finalised.
O’Neill said the inquiry would be independent and thorough and “seek to get to the bottom of these issues identified in its terms of reference”.
“I call on all relevant parties to work with the commission of inquiry as members go about their tasks.”
Justice Andrew, from Australia, had served as a public solicitor and later as a judge in PNG.
The State appointed him in 2014 to chair a commission of a inquiry to look into the processes and procedures used to brief out matters to law firms, and processes and procedures for paying public funds to law firms.
The students’ protest including the boycotting of classes began at the University of Papua New Guinea more than eight weeks ago.
Students at the University of Technology, University of Goroka and the University of Natural Resources and Environment later joined the protest.
They have been demanding that Prime Minister O’Neill steps aside and allows police to question him on certain corruption allegations.
O’Neill told the students that the matters were before the court and no one had come forward with any evidence to prove that he had committed an offence.
The protests led to a clash with police at UPNG a few weeks ago. At least eight people were injured.
Later at the University of Goroka, a clash among students resulted in a death.
Last Saturday in Lae, a student died after he was attacked by a group of men in his dormitory.