15 Jul 2003

Broad immunity planned for Solomons intervention force

10:31 am on 15 July 2003

The Solomon Islands will this week debate whether to allow an Australian-led intervention force to use arms and reasonable force to restore order there and be immune from prosecution.

The use of the multi-national force was unanimously approved last week by the Solomons parliament.

Parliament from Wednesday is expected to debate legislation, drafted by Australia and amended by Cabinet at the weekend, which covers the rules of engagement under which the force will operate.

Copies of the so-called enabling legislation say the force will be able to use "such force as is reasonably necessary to achieve a public purpose and may possess, carry and use arms to protect themselves, protect other persons (and) public or private property".

Some MPs have expressed concern at the broad immunity from prosecution that the peacekeepers would have.