Solomons TRC starts public hearings

24 March 2010 by -

The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started public hearings into ethnic conflict that took place between 1998 and 2003. 100 people were killed and more than 20,000 had to flee their homes after violence broke out between rival ethnic groups from the islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

The Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started public hearings into ethnic conflict that took place between 1998 and 2003. 100 people were killed and more than 20,000 had to flee their homes after violence broke out between rival ethnic groups from the islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

19 witnesses testified during the initial two-day hearing earlier this month, including Pretty Rose Proctor from Choiseul Island. She described how she lost her husband, brother and niece to the violence. Maria Odilia from Guadalcanal said she was attacked by militants because she married a man from Malaita.

“The aim of this public hearing is to put an end to the silence,” said TRC chairman Father Samuel Ata.

So far, the TRC has only heard from victims but there have been repeated calls for perpetrators to also come forward and tell their story.

“We will definitely invite them to testify,” said Ata. “It is very important, because the perpetrators also need healing.”

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