Palau: a challenge to the rule of law in Micronesia

Report of a mission by William J. Butler, Esq., The Honorable George C. Edwards and the Honourable Michael D. Kirby, C.M.G, on behalf of the ICJ and the American Association for the International Commission of Jurists.

The terms of reference were to inquire into the status o f the Rule o f Law in Palau since its formation by a constitutional convention in 1979. More particularly the Ordre de Mission (Appendix i) was to inquire into the facts and circumstances which required the holding o f six referenda on the Compact o f Free Association with the United States, together with four referenda on the constitution itself and the denial, through acts o f intimidation and violence, o f access by Palauan citizens to their duly constituted legal institutions.

The report includes:

  • Preface
  • Historical perspective: Palau 1508-1944; 1944-1947
  • The trust territory 1947-date
  • A nuclear-free constitution
  • Compacts of free association in Micronesia: the first referendum, the second referendum, the third referendum, the fourth referendum, the fifth referendum
  • The August 1987 Referenda: events leading up to legislative process, the legislative sessions of July 1987, the August 1987 Referenda, threats and acts of violence denying Palauan citizens access to legal institutions
  • Findings and conclusions: independence of the Judiciary and the legal profession
  • Recommendations
  • Appendix: Ordre de Mission, letter of legislators to Chief Justice, letter of legislators to President Salii, petition of ‘Furloughed Government Employees’, Map of Pacific and Palau.

Palau-rule of law-report-1988-eng (Full text in English, PDF)


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