12 Apr 2007

Tongan goverment spokesperson says reconciliation won't interfere with judicial process

7:37 pm on 12 April 2007

A Tongan government spokesman says the appointment of an adviser on Reconciliation comes out of the king's directive to build a new capital and a new Tonga following last year's riot.

The prime minister's political adviser, Lopeti Senituli, says there is a need to rebuild the bonds that were severed when the riots destroyed much of central Nuku'alofa.

Mr Senituli says the reconciliation will in no way interfere with the judicial process where hundreds of people are facing the courts in connection with the riots.

When asked whether reconciliation could include a Truth Commission similar to that held in South Africa, he ruled that out.

"We see justice and reconciliation as being complementary to each other. They are not alternatives. The danger about a Truth Commission is that you have to consider and bring into account amnesty and at this stage, there is no such thinking about amnesty for anyone."

Lopeti Senituli also says the government's commitment to political reform is unchanged with a timeline to go before parliament in June.