Transitional Justice as Police-Building in Solomon Islands: Tensions of State-Building and Implications for Gender

Authored by: Charles Hawksley and Nichole Georgeou

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Peacemaking, Political Transitions, Security Sector Reform (SSR), Transitional Justice
Country: Solomon Islands
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2014
Citation: Hawksley, Charles and Nichole Georgeou. "Transitional Justice as Police-Building in Solomon Islands: Tensions of State-Building and Implications for Gender." In Current Issues in Transitional Justice: Towards a More Holistic Approach, edited by Natalia Szablewska and Sascha-Domonik Bachmann, 133-60. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2015.

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Executive Summary

Modern interventions focused on state building usually incorporate some mechanisms for transitional justice. The 2003 intervention of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) initially favoured criminal trials to achieve transitional justice, while local initiatives promoted community healing. RAMSI adopted a security paradigm that viewed the conflict as a matter of law and order, rather than as a complex historical and social issue. A central aim of RAMSI has been to rebuild trust in the state’s police force; however, this has been a particularly complex process as during the conflict from 1998 to 2003 many members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) were implicated in serious crimes. RAMSI has pushed for a generational renewal of the RSIPF, but its emphasis on institutional mechanisms of state control and legal processes has resulted in a lack of coordination with local preferences for restorative justice. This chapter uses a gender lens to unpack the tensions and implications of the RAMSI intervention for women, arguing that the security-first paradigm, along with the exclusion of women from the initial Peace Agreement, has entrenched existing patriarchal social relations and has been counterproductive to later gender-mainstreaming initiatives in peace-building.