30 Apr 2013

Concern over public reaction in Solomons following report leak

5:28 pm on 30 April 2013

The chief executive of Forum Solomon Islands International is asking who will be liable for the consequences of the leaking of a report into ethnic tensions quelled by international military intervention a decade ago.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report - the product of extensive consultations with those on all sides of a conflict thought to have killed about 200 people - was presented to the prime minister well over a year ago.

It was widely expected to be made public within a few months, but after more than a year of waiting, Dr Terry Brown, the report's final editor, has released digital copies of it.

Benjamin Afuga told Annell Husband the forum doesn't believe Dr Brown will be liable for whatever happens next.

"AFUGA: We are very mindful of whatever might happen here after what is released. We don't think that Reverend Brown will be liable for certain things that will happen, for example. People might react to certain contents of the report. And if certain people went round asking for compensation, who is liable for that, who is responsible for that? These are the sensitive parts of the leakage that we are fearful of and we are very mindful of."

HUSBAND: And yet, the Forum has fully backed all of the calls and all of the pressure for the report to be tabled in parliament and then be made public according to the Act, as you've mentioned, hasn't it?

AFUGA: Yes, yes. We support the report to be released, but it has to be released according to the section of the TRC Act, not to be released as it has happened, although we respect Reverend Brown's decision to do that, whatever reason he has. He has said his side of the story. He has prayed about it and that's the decision that he came up with. But we are just fearful that we don't want to be part of any blame or any reactionary actions that might arise from certain contents of the report. The thing is that no one has seen the report so we were just mindful that we might see something that we shouldn't have seen, something like that.

HUSBAND: Do you think this could turn out to be counterproductive, and so it might make the government even less likely to release the report and to actually action it?

AFUGA: I also have that question because there are recommendations that the government is supposed to act on. But now that the report has been released in the wrong way, I don't know how the government will react to the recommendations.