Monday, 23 August 2010 9:03 AM

Attorney General Waits on Tongan Government

The Attorney General says he expects to get a response from the government of Tonga by Tuesday this week on whether they agree to wave immunity to two of its soldiers serving with RAMSI.

This is to allow Solomon Islands' police to interview them in relation to last week's shooting death at Titinge.

Speaking to SIBC News, Gabriel Suri says he's had discussions with the Tongan Solicitor General and the deputy Commander of the Tongan Defence Force Wednesday in a follow up to two requests he'd sent to the government of Tonga last week.

"The first thing is for them to grant a waiver on the immunity available under the Facilitation Act - if they can remove that immunity for us to proceed with any possible case or charges where evidence suggest a need to lay charges," said the Attorney General.

"The other request is for them to give us jurisdiction. Under the facilitation of international assistance act, there is a restriction for Solomon Islands to exercise jurisdiction - particularly criminal or disciplinary jurisdiction."

He says the Tongan officials indicated to him that they needed more information on how the Titinge shooting unfolded before they could make a decision.

Mr Suri says the Tongan Solicitor General was not in a position to make a decision on the matter but he assured Mr Suri the Tonga Cabinet will meet today and a decision should be made known to him by Tuesday.

Mr Suri says his office and the police of Solomon Islands are restricted by law to act without the consent of the Tongan authorities.

He says there's nothing for him to do in the event the government of Tonga decides not to grant Solomon Islands' jurisdiction over the soldiers or wave the immunity clause in the Facilitation of International Assistance Act.

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