4 May 2011

Solomons Truth Commission values Malaitans' testimony

1:47 pm on 4 May 2011

The chair of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission says a hearing for former Malaitan militants was valuable despite their reluctance to speak about their actions during the ethnic tensions.

Chairman Father Sam Ata says 19 former combatants told the hearing they had retaliated after negotiations to compensate them for the death and destruction brought by the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army failed.

Father Ata says while the ex-militants from the Malaita Eagle Force apologised for their actions, they were cautious about speaking about them for fear of prosecution.

But he says their actions are already well-known to Solomon Islanders and there was still value in the hearing.

"Disclosing the truth is one aspect of the process but also coming before the society and saying sorry is also another aspect of this healing process."

Father Ata says a hearing for Guadalcanal militants will be held next week and it's hoped the two sides can be brought together in the future.