4 Apr 2006

RAMSI welcomes Solomons' court decision throwing out challenge to its presence

7:39 pm on 4 April 2006

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, or RAMSI, has welcomed today's ruling by the High Court which threw out a challenge to it being in the country.

The chief justice, Sir Albert Palmer, says the case, which was brought by Andrew Nori, a one-time spokesperson for the Malaita Eagle Force militia, did not have grounds to proceed in court.

Mr Nori challenged the constitutionality of the Facilitation Act, which was unanimously passed by parliament, to allow RAMSI and the Police Participating Force, or PPF, to enter and operate in the country.

A lawyer for the PPF, John Sullivan, says the decision augurs well for the future of Solomon Islands but he doesn't yet know if there will be an appeal.

"That'll be a matter for Mr Nori. He has certain time limits within which to consider his position and take such action as he may be advised. There's an argument as to whether he needs leave to appeal or whether he has an appeal as of right. We'll see what he does."

A RAMSI spokesperson says they welcome the decision and look forward to a close and productive relationship with the incoming government of Solomon Islands.