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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
On April 29, 2009, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the key architects of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, launched a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for the Solomon Islands. In accordance with the TRC Act, passed by the Solomon Islands Government on August 28, 2008, it is a hybrid commission, presided over by three commissioners from the Solomon Islands and two international commissioners (currently one from Peru and one from Fiji). The mandate of the TRC is threefold: to investigate and report on human rights violations that took place during the Tensions; to provide ‘opportunities for affected parties... to tell their story’ through a range of mechanisms, and to recommend ‘policy options or measures that may prevent future repetition of similar events.’ To these ends, the planned activities of the TRC have included:
However, the TRC not only represents the Solomon Islands’ most concerted effort to confront its violent past to date but an attempt to reconcile the seemingly incompatible approaches to transitional justice that had previously been pursued in the post-conflict context. It has attempted to do this in two inter-related ways: first, by overcoming the problem of silence associated with the criminal justice system, and; second, by pursuing truth and reconciliation but not at the expense of attributing accountability or responsibility to the perpetrators of serious crimes.
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