30 Apr 2009

Amnesty critical of aspects of Solomons reconciliation plan

1:02 pm on 30 April 2009

Amnesty International has criticised a clause in the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Act which says that any information disclosed to it cannot be construed as admissable evidence before a court of law.

The Commission was launched in Honiara yesterday by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and will begin its work in a few months time.

It was created to enable people caught up in ethnic unrest between 1998 and 2003 to share their stories, to promote understanding and reconciliation.

The Deputy Director of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Rebecca Emery, says it's unfortunate the evidence cannot be used in a court of law given the commission's mandate to examine accountability for human rights abuses.

"We're saying that it can't work in isolation and that it must be integrated with the ongoing efforts made by the authorities of the Solomon Islands, with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands who can investigate and prosecute the human rights violations committed during the conflict."

Rebecca Emery says although the commission was established to promote reconciliation, its role cannot be limited to that.