7 Dec 2009

Solomons Truth Commission now to begin early next year

4:20 pm on 7 December 2009

Investigations into the ethnic conflict in Solomon Islands now look set to start early next year following the arrival of two international commissioners.

The country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was launched to great fanfare in April by South Africa's Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

But the Solomon Star reports its international commissioners, Sofia Matcher from Peru, and Fiji's Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, only arrived in the country early last month.

An official has told the paper their arrival has been delayed because the commission's main donors have different criteria for funding.

The European Union is contributing more than 2 million US dollars to the commission, the United Nations Development Programme 500-thousand dollars, and Australia about 450-thousand dollars.

The commission is expected to cost almost three million US dollars.

It will hear from victims and witnesses to the ethnic violence in which about 100 people died and 20-thousand were displaced between 1998 and 2003.