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April 29, 2002


In his interesting and lengthy article entitled, "Viewpoint: The Politics of Peace in the Solomons," published in the Pacific Island Report on April 29, 2002, Dr. Tarcisius K. Tara refers to the notion of "restorative justice" involving a reconciliation process leading to restoring relationships among people at all levels of society in the Solomon Islands.

I welcome Dr. Tara's support on the important need for restorative justice and reconciliation and refer him (and your readers) to an article I submitted in August 2001, prior to the review of the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA), which was entitled, "Truth and Reconciliation Needed in the Solomons." This was published in the PIR on August 28, 2001.


The pursuit of national unity, the well being of all Solomon Islands citizens and peace requires reconciliation and the reconstruction of the society, but this must be founded on the truth, and I agree with Dr. Tara that all those responsible for human rights violations must admit their wrongful actions, but I suggest this should be part of a judicial process leading to a possible amnesty.

The whole question of amnesty should be viewed in a broader context for many in the Solomons are still in need of healing and the victims of violence cannot be ignored. If perpetrators are to be forgiven, then the honor and dignity of victims must also be restored to give effect to meaningful reparation.

Dr. Tara rightly comments on the illegality of forcefully overthrowing a civilian government and he mentions the possibility of an investigation of those who participated in (either planning or executing) the coup of June 5, 2000. I would suggest to Dr. Tara that any such investigation should begin with those who instigated, planned, plotted, conspired and carried out the many gross violations of human rights that first occurred in September 1998 and which, ultimately, led to the coup that forcibly removed the legitimate civilian government of the day.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short, CBE Email: 

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