Wednesday, 13 August 2008 8:46 AM

Misinformation on RAMSI Immunity

The Acting Police Commissioner, Peter Marshall, has described as misinformed comments, public perceptions which have been expressed by individuals both in Parliament and in the media that RAMSI officers and personnel are provided blanket immunity cover by the Facilitation of International Assistance Act (FIAA).

The FIAA was enacted by Parliament, in July 2003 to facilitate an Australian led Forum intervention in the Solomon Islands which was then on the verge of collapse as a result of the ethnic tension and subsequent armed conflict on Guadalcanal.

Referring to the view that there is a blanket immunity cover for RAMSI personnel, Marshall said that those comments had been made particularly in relation to the Ngossi road accident which resulted in the death of a 26-year old nurse involving a vehicle driven by a Samoan RAMSI police officer.

But he said that whilst the final decision rests with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the accident, there has been a lot of misinformation about the possibility of blanket immunity for RAMSI officers any time any day in the Solomon Islands.

"It has been a very comprehensive investigation. There is plenty of evidence and information for an informed decision by the DPP and the Attorney General," said Commissioner Marshall.

He said that RAMSI police officers or RAMSI officials need to be acting in the course of their official duties or incidental to those official duties and that's what the investigations into the Ngossi Road accident will be determining.

Meanwhile, the Acting Attorney General Gabriel Suri also provided the same explanations on the floor of Parliament but added that the issue of the jurisdiction of the participating country over its officer in RAMSI is an issue that requires that country to relinquish its jurisdiction over its officer.

Prime Minister Sikua also told Parliament that when the Samoan Prime Minister came for the independence celebrations, they discussed the issue of jurisdiction adding that his Samoan counter-part may relinquish jurisdiction over its police officer.

SOLOMONTIMES.COM WITH NATIONAL EXPRESS

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