Despite the civil conflicts, riots, and violence in the capital of Honiara, the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) does not have the power to grant amnesty.The Solomon Islands has struggled with civil conflict since 1999. The country went though a period of “ethnic tension” because of the cultural differences between the Malaita and the Guadalcanal. Two militant forces from both sides fought vigorously, and during this time there were kidnappings, torture, murders, and human rights abuses.
A cease fire was called, and a peace agreement was signed. The Regional Assistance Mission for Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was invited to restore law and order in the country. Although the country has generally been more peaceful, there is still no deep reconciliation between the parties.Recently, the Solomon Islands TRC was created to further the goal of reconciliation between the two sides and for the peaceful future of the country. The format of the TRC is similar to that of South Africa’s TRC. However, unlike South Africa’s TRC, the Solomon Islands TRC does not have the power to grant amnesty.
Amnesty International criticized the limited amnesty provision, arguing that “those who committed human rights abuses should not be protected in any way but rather face full criminal charges.” Amnesty argues that such a limitation “is at odds with the mandate of the TRC” to address impunity.However, Daniela Gavshon, head of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) Program, stated that the Solomon Islands 2000 and 2001 Act are unaffected by the TRC Act. Thus, those who qualify for amnesty under the 2000 and 2001 Acts will still have amnesty, but the TRC cannot grant amnesty.