LAWYER DISPUTES RAMSI OFFICERS IMMUNITY TO SOLOMONS LAWS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 23) – A Honiara lawyer says the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) personnel is only immune from Solomon Islands’ laws when carrying out their duties.

Outspoken lawyer John Keniapisia said there is no unlimited immunity for RAMSI personnel as may have appeared.

In supporting his argument, Mr. Keniapisia said RAMSI officers are immune to prosecution for their actions when carrying out their duties, citing the raid on the Prime Minister’s Office as an example.

However, he said if a RAMSI officer gets drunk, drives his own vehicle and hits another one then he’s liable to face criminal or civil suit.

Besides that, the lawyer said, any breach of fundamental human rights in the constitution, they are not immune from prosecution as in the case of John Makasi.

Makasi has challenged RAMSI for alleged abuse of human rights over the shooting of Australian police officer Andrew Dunning.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare wanted the immunity given to RAMSI personnel under the 2003 Facilitating Act be removed following allegations of prostitution at the RAMSI headquarters by its officers.

RAMSI has denied the reports.

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