LETTER: TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION FINDINGS CAN’T BE USED IN COURT

Letter To The Editor

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION FINDINGS CAN’T BE USED IN COURT

Sinarangu East Kwaio Malaita Solomon Islands

01st May 2009

Dear Sir,

I read with great interest and indeed a sense of sadness your story, originating from Radio New Zealand International, on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Solomon Islands. Your story was published on 30 April 2009.

Great interest because some of us had fought long and hard for such a commission. The government deserves a pat on the back for finally delivering the bacon.

However, if indeed the revelation in your report is true that findings by the commission cannot be used as evidence in court, then it is very sad indeed. Sad because it renders the entire process costly, time-consuming, psychologically drenching and yet its outcome is a foregone conclusion: meaningless.

What’s the point in digging out the past when the will to bury that past in a legally binding and enforceable way is not there in the first place? The stench from the corpses will be even greater.

Do I sound punitive-minded? No. There are no free lunches anymore. We live in a world where everyone pays or should, if they aren’t doing so - for food, use of utilities and crimes when one finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Appropriate punishment makes people think twice about committing crimes in the future. Those let out easily are prone to repeating their past.

I am more than certain the Solomon Islands Government was fully aware of the loophole in the present Act, preventing the findings of the commission from being used as evidence in a court of law. An amendment would have taken care of the anomaly.

Instead, the government has gone full throttle on setting up the commission whose work [findings] may not even be worth the paper it’s written on. What a waste!

What a meaningless waste of money, time and resources!

[Signed] Alfred Sasako

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