Samoa court rules for­mer head of state can’t be sued

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News - Apia: RNZI

Samoa’s Supreme Court has ruled that the for­mer head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Ta­masese Efi, and the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank can­not be sued by the Samoa Sol­i­dar­ity In­ter­na­tional Group.

The group is pur­su­ing civil ac­tion against the Prime Min­is­ter Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Maliel­e­gaoi, var­i­ous govern­ment depart­ments and agen­cies, and the cur­rent and for­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­als, Le­malu Her­man Ret­zlaff and Au­mua Ming Le­ung Wai, over the Land Ti­tles Reg­is­tra­tion Act 2008.

It’s chal­leng­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the act, which al­lows the reg­is­tra­tion of cus­tom­ary land leases and re­quires the reg­is­tra­tion of all cus­tom­ary land in Samoa.

The group claims this vi­o­lates ar­ti­cles 102 and 109 of the con­sti­tu­tion. The Supreme Court ruled that the for­mer head of state has im­mu­nity un­der the Head of State Act 1965 and the bank un­der the Di­plo­matic Priv­i­leges and Im­mu­ni­ties Act 1978. The groups’ lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu, says the rul­ing will be ap­pealed.

Samoa’s for­mer O le Ao o le Malo - or head of state Tui Atua Tupua Ta­masese Efi.

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