Academic calls for 'restorative justice' for Pitcairn Island
ANGWIN, CALIF., USA. -------- While lauding a decision to try
on Pitcairn Island men who have been accused of sexual crimes, a
U.S. academic says the decision goes only part way toward assuring
the future of the tiny South Pacific isle.
Herbert Ford, director of the Pitcairn Islands Study Center at
Pacific Union College here, the worlds largest center of information
about Pitcairn and The Bounty Saga, said the planned
traditional September court trial should be scuttled in favor of
the equally effective process known as restorative justice.
The downtown London trial process as planned may well rip
Pitcairn apart, said Ford. It will likely deepen already
existing divisions to the extent that there could be a migration
away from Pitcairn.. The interconnectedness of the Pitcairners is
a major factor in this matter particularly as it relates to the
In contrast, said Ford, The relatively new but proven process
of restorative justice will exact such justice as is found to be
needed, while at the same time building bridges between existing
island factions. It will help assure a future for Pitcairn far more
than will a traditional court trial.
The Study Center director said a formal court trial that meets
London standards will not recognize either the cultural differences
of Pitcairn from much of the outside world, nor will it take into
account the fragility and changeability through the years of Pitcairn
law concerning sexual matters.
The process of restorative justice, on the other hand, brings
all who are party to the matter to the table in a moderated, informal
setting. It brings both justice to any who may be found guilty,
satisfaction to possible victims, and resolution to all concerned.
This process will be more readily understood by the Pitcairners,
and any remedies needed more quickly accepted as appropriate,
Such a process has a proven track record in areas where
there are small, indigenous groups as is found on Pitcairn Island,
Ford said. It should be used in this present matter because
it provides appropriate justice, and brings true closure to any
who may have been harmed.
Pitcairn Islands Study Center, 1 Angwin
Ave., Angwin, CA, USA. Herbert Ford, 707-965-6625, 707-965-2047, Fax: 707-965-6504,
Email: email@example.com, Website: http://library.puc.edu/pitcairn>