9 Mar 2010

Perpetrators addressed at Solomons Truth Commission public hearings

10:24 pm on 9 March 2010

Nine victims from Malaita, Guadalcanal and Isobel provinces gave testimony on the first day of public hearings for the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This week's hearings are focussing on testimony from victims of the ethnic tensions from 1998 to 2003, with no militants expected to testify.

Amnesty International's Hannah Harborow has been at the hearing where she says "heart-wrenching" evidence has been delivered by people caught in the crossfire of the tensions.

"A lot of them, after they told their story, what had happened to them, they made a statement that was basically addressing everybody in the country because they knew it was being broadcast live, that this opportunity should be siezed and that the country needs to move forward. And also some of them directly addressed the perpetrators of the violence."

Hannah Harborow says as well as following up on eventual recommendations from the Commission, the government must protect those who speak publicly because there is a danger of reprisals.