4 Apr 2006

Solomons court throws out legal challenge to RAMSI deployment

4:26 pm on 4 April 2006

The Solomon Islands High Court has thrown out a case which sought to challenge the existence of the Regional Assistance Mission in the country.

Linda Skates reports from Honiara.

"The Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, ruled that the Facilitation Act which provided the grounds for RAMSI to come into the country was not unconstitutional because two police forces were operating, or, because the police commander did not appoint the officers of the Participating Police Force. He also said the Facilitation Act did not provide complete immunity for PPF officers and that the Director of Public Prosecutions wasn't prevented from instituting criminal proceedings if necessary. Sir Albert also referred to the fact that RAMSI was invited in by the Government at a time when, as he put it, Solomon Islands was on the brink of collapse and anarchy. And the Chief Justice made a pointed reference about the background of the plaintiff Andrew Nori, who was once a spokesman and advisor to the militant Malaita Eagle Force and the part the MEF played in bringing the country to near catastrophe. In his ruling Sir Albert also pointed out that Parliament unanimously passed the Facilitation Act and that it can review RAMSI's continued existence in the country if it so desires."