By Joseph Morokana
A Council of Elders (COE) representative in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) is calling on relevant authorities to set up commission of inquiry to investigate cases of alleged human rights violations committed by the Papua New Guinea Armed Forces during the Bougainville conflict.
Bougainville’s Paramount Chief, Joe Pais said a lot of human rights violations occurred between 1990 and 1996, have not been fully and fairly investigated mainly due to inaction by the government of Papua New Guinea.
“This negligence by Papua New Guinea authorities has allowed offenders to continue to stay in freedom from facing penalties,” he said.
The chief is also calling on the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) to request for international human rights monitors such as the Amnesty International to re-open full investigations into human rights violations to ensure those responsible are held accountable.
One outstanding case that needs to be investigated is the murder of the former Bougainville Transitional Government Premier, the Late Theodore Miriung, who was murdered in October 1996 while visiting his wife’s village of Kapana in Southwest Bougainville.
The initial commission of inquiry findings conducted by a Sri Lankan judge, Justice T Suntheralingam at the request of then Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan was that, the late Premier Miriung was shot dead by members of a local para militia with the involvement of soldiers from Papua New Guinea Security Forces.
Papua New Guinea authorities since then have failed to prosecute those implicated over the murder.