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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 6, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Parliament passed the Constitution Amendment Bill, which gives amnesty for some events during the Solomon Islands ethnic conflict.

Forty-two members supported the bill; two voted against it; three abstained and two MPs were absent.

Supported by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the bill gives amnesty to the leaders, members and other civilian advisers associated with the Malaita Eagle Force, Isatabu Freedom Movement and the Marau Eagle Force militant groups.

The bill also covers officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the Prison Services.

Amnesty was sought for these groups under terms of the Townsville Peace Agreement and the Marau Peace Agreement.

The bill seeks to give immunity from criminal prosecution for certain acts or things done during January 1, 1998 to October 15, 2000 or on February 7, 2001 in connection with conflicts on Guadalcanal or Marau.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Sogavare said the Constitution Amendment Bill should not prevent individuals taking up criminal proceedings for wrongs committed against them, but pertains to wrongs that were committed against the state.

Caretaker Opposition Leader Bartholomew Ulufa'alu argued that the bill may prevent individuals who were wronged to take up court cases against those who have committed crimes against them.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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