26 February 1999

Human Rights Monitor condemns the Government's action into pressuring the Court of Final Appeal into giving an explanation of its judgment. This sort of application is unprecedented and erodes judicial independence. The Court of Final Appeal should have denied itself a jurisdiction to clarify its judgment. Although the substance of what was said in today's ruling is acceptable, the Court of Final Appeal must be free to apply the law without the fear of having to explain any judgment it makes.

It is important for the court to uphold the Basic Law even if it means scrutinizing the NPC's decisions or legislative acts. The Basic Law is an enforceable legal document not simply against the Hong Kong authorities and Hong Kong people but also the Chinese authorities.

We urge the Judiciary to continue to maintain their independence and ensure that no individual or authority is above the law.

In addition, Human Rights Monitor reiterates that the judgment itself clearly did not intend to usurp the function of the NPC or its Standing Committee, and the Judiciary should never feel compelled to making any justifications of its decisions as a result of political pressure.

1999 (c) Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor