9 Aug 2006

Public welcome at Solomon Islands Commission of Inquiry into riots

7:15 pm on 9 August 2006

The chairman of the Solomon Islands Commission of Inquiry into the riots earlier this year is expecting a large number of people to come forward to make statements.

Justice Marcus Einfeld of Australia says the inquiry, which will be launched early next month, is open to any member of the public.

He says the three member commission plans to find out the facts surrounding the riots in Honiara, who or what organisations were responsible, and whether the incidents were connected to the ethnic tension in previous years.

Mr Einfeld says ads will be placed in the newspaper and other media to ensure that people know the inquiry is taking place and that they can come forward.

"Clearly, there are a number of witnesses to events that took place at the parliament, which included some of the high officers of state and then, of course, there are many members of the public. The indications are that a lot of people will come forward."

Mr Einfeld says the commission has the powers to compel witnesses to appear and it can refer statements to the police to pursue.

There are two MPs, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne'e, who are currently before the courts in connection with the riots.