16 Jun 2008

Solomons opposition queries RAMSI immunity after fatal road incident

12:59 pm on 16 June 2008

The Solomon Islands opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare says the law regarding RAMSI's Facilitation Act needs to change to ensure officials are held accountable under Solomons law.

His call comes as two Samoan officers from the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands caused an accident reportedly while driving under the influence of alcohol.

The accident resulted in the death of a Solomon Islands woman on Saturday.

Parliament is about to review the Facilitation Act which guides the work of RAMSI, including immunity from prosecution of its members.

When RAMSI arrived five years ago, Mr Sogavare says granting them immunity privileges was justified, given the country's state of affairs.

But now, he says RAMSI officers need to be held accountable, as there have been other incidents.

"We're suggesting that they should come under Solomon Islands law. And I don't' see any other reason why they should not. Because right now they are in fact quite a privileged group of people in the whole of our country. They can break our laws and get away with it. There is a procedure that outlines that they can be dealt with in their own country but there is no assurance, there is no guarantee that that will happen."

Manasseh Sogavare