The war crimes committed by government security forces in the conflict were horrific. (1990) ‘Bougainville is a Special Case’, in May, R. J. and Spriggs, M. During this ‘law and order operation’ hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground by security forces, along with crops. ‘Winning Hearts and Mines: The Bougainville Crisis, 1988-90’, in Jackson, R., Murphy, E., and Poynting, S. Additionally landowners and politicians were assaulted, a prominent landowner’s wife was raped, and those left homeless by the destruction were placed in internment camps (called ‘care centres’ by the PNG government) where they were denied access to any outside visitors. Political Geography, 20, 561-584. By August 1989 BCL was satisfied that the rebels were on the back-foot, consequently they agreed to begin repairing the mine. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force: Vanuatu (1980) to Bougainville (1990), Unpublished PhD, Canberra: Australian National University. Ted Diro, the Minister of State, and Ben Sabumei, the Minister for Defence, persuaded their cabinet colleagues that a state of emergency must be declared, and the BRA neutralised using military force. Ballentine, K. and Sherman, J. Sydney: AID/WATCH. Sharp, N. (1997). Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company's Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects. They must sort out their own civil war based problems first. British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7. Ten years of fighting for autonomy from Papua New Guinea and a brutal civil war ravaged the country in the 80s and 90s. Spriggs (1992: 13) observes the military blockade “was total, including a blockade on any medical supplies, and was therefore tighter than that placed around Saddam Hussein’s Iraq”. A senior PNGDF officer recalls: “We were not trained, we were not prepared, both in training and in our modus operandi. Memorandum to the Chairman, 22 November 1988. The dead foetus was then placed on the chest of the dead mother for all to see — as a warning.”. Available online. The International State Crime Initiative’s multi-media presentation on the Bougainville conflict, which includes BCL memorandums and meeting minutes, can be accessed here.]. Dom Rotheroe who provided excerpts from his documentary film, 'A Coconut Revolution'. While more broadly, the collapse of the PNG state would seriously damage Australia’s regional leadership aspirations, and provoke uncomfortable questions from important allies (principally the United States and Indonesia). Despite having the support of loyalist paramilitaries, the state security forces continued to employ the same violent tactics witnessed during 1989-1990. Consequently, BCL refused to meet the PLA’s demands, and instead affirmed their commitment to meeting the company’s existing obligations as set out under the Bougainville Copper Agreement. Meanwhile, the peace package which had been developed during April 1989 was rushed to fruition by a national government desperate to restore normality on the island. Kramer, R. C., Michalowski, R. J. and Kauzlarich, D. (2002) ‘The Origins and Development of the Concept and Theory of State-Corporate Crime’, Crime & Delinquency, 48(2), 263–282. Claims that Rio Tinto funded the civil war and fostered atrocities on Bougainville are being resurrected as a hurdle to the reopening there of Panguna copper mine, whose proven reserves are worth at least $50 billion.. Today the opposition to the mine is strongest overseas, especially among Australia’s trade unions and non-government organisations. The government offered the moderates a generous peace settlement if they could persuade villagers to withdraw their support for the more radical PLA executive. No one was exempted from the violence. (2006). There are other problems with his account. An anti-war movement evolved on Bougainville during the mid-1990s, spearheaded by womens’ groups, NGOs, and the church. The beachhead was secured on November 13. Collier, P., and Hoeffler, A. Much of what I'd read about Bougainville before arriving painted a picture of a troubled and unstable country. Naturally, Rio Tinto wants to take advantage of skyrocketing copper and gold prices by dusting off its old South Pacific jewel. Rio Tinto stands accused of being complicit in these atrocities. Forget about your differences and struggle for only one goal: to save the lives of our future generations”. It was hoped that by doing so communities would begin to turn against the BRA, thus bringing about the ingredients for a civil war on Bougainville. As internal tensions grew during 1990, the national government was able to activate its plan. Result: Bougainville Peace Agreement Establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government; Belligerents Papua New Guinea. Tell us what Green Left means to you. There are also reports that the Solomon Islands was again attacked the day before the Bougainville landing. Frightened, ignorant thugs with guns a long way from home.”, Another executive remembered surveying the destruction inflicted upon local villages by government forces during April 1989: “Forty, 50 villages, and the crops [were destroyed]. The executive’s aim was to level the social hierarchy that had formed on Bougainville, by expropriating both the mining company and the local elite who had monopolised land, compensation payments, and business opportunities. I am talking frankly, they will knock a few heads in, burn a few houses down, shoot a few pigs, shoot at cars … The mobile squads operated with a modus operandi of frightening people” (Personal Communication, 2006). Frightened ignorant thugs with guns. The peace agreement signed in 2001 in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), ended the most violent conflict in the South Pacific since World War Two. However, it is clans who own the land which mining companies must access to extract the minerals and build essential facilities. Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company's Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects. Arnson, C. J. and Zartman, I. W. (2005) Rethinking the Economics of War: The Intersection of Need, Creed and Greed, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. I am requesting information you may possess on any suspected war crimes or war time atrocities committed by any and all parties to the Bougainville Civil War (1988-1998) or during the subsequent peace process. (1990). Completely isolated from the outside world, the BRA and their political arm, the Bougainville Interim Government, were unable to normalise social conditions on the island during 1990. As a result, while police mobile squads were dispatched and placed on security detail, the Prime Minister also elected to send a peace delegation to Bougainville in an effort to forge a mediated settlement to the crisis. 1990s Bougainville civil war: WWII weapons. Mobile squads raided four landowner villages, landowners were assaulted, their property seized, and their homes damaged. Il devient avocat, puis s'engage dans l'armée. ‘In Between: Personal Experiences In the 9-Year Long War on Bougainville’. Under this agreement the rebels permitted the North Solomons to resume its constitutional status as a province of PNG in return for greater autonomy, and an option for a referendum to be held over independence within ten to fifteen years. Having been briefed on BCL’s views, the national government looked for a middle road. Led by Francis Ona and Perpetua Serero, this executive had a radical political agenda. Gillespie, R. (1996). Noté /5. 'State Crime by Proxy: Australia and the Bougainville Conflict', British Journal of Criminology, 52(4), 705-723. I am sure that that lesson is being learnt by the Bougainvilleans” (National Parliament of PNG, Record of Proceedings, 11 July, 1989). These sentiments were shared by PNG’s Police Commissioner. Assisted by moderate leaders on all sides, Bougainville’s burgeoning civil society was able to slowly develop a framework for peace. The Bougainville Crisis, Bathurst: Crawford House Press. But a military blockade has been placed around Bougainville. (eds.) (eds.) Polomka, P. The International State Crime Initiative would like to thank the following contributors: Amanda King and Fabio Cavadini of Frontyard Films who provided excerpts from their documentary film, 'An Evergreen Island'. He is also the Chancellor of the Australian National University. According to Rogers (2002: 238) Colonel Nuia “was a hardliner with little sympathy for the secessionists”. In order to press home this customary power, clan groups in the Bougainville mine area organised themselves through the Panguna Landowners Association (PLA). The referendum was part of a ceasefire agreement that ended a brutal decade-long civil war in 1998, which was followed by the 2001 signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement. BCL director Sir Rabbie Namaliu told The Australian on July 16, 2011: “To suggest that Rio did it deliberately is factually wrong. Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing Peace in Bougainville. Retrouvez Breaking Spears and Mending Hearts: Peacemakers and Restorative Justice in Bougainville et des millions de livres en stock sur Amazon.fr. The Bougainville Civil War, also known as the Bougainville Conflict, was an armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 between Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), who were fighting for independence. (Optional) Enter your postcode for local activist event updates. Photo by Francis O'Neill, via eco-action.org. In response Francis Ona and his supporters fled into the jungle and formed the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). Bougainville Civil War; District map of Bougainville (North Solomons) Date: 1 December 1988 – 20 April 1998: Location: Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Sea. May, R. J., and Spriggs, M. [Dr Kristian Lasslett is an executive board member of the International State Crime Initiative. Well, its executives seem fairly cogent on this front too. Green Left is turning 30 - Help us celebrate 30 years of people-powered media by posting a message to your socials using the hashtag #greenleft30. Amnesty International. Né en 1729 à Paris, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville est le fils d'un notaire et échevin de la ville de Paris. However, the BRA’s leadership was adamant, any permanent solution to the conflict would require: 1) The withdrawal of the government’s security forces from Bougainville; 2) The permanent closure of the mine; and 3) The holding of a referendum to decide the question of independence. Both Rabbie Namaliu (Prime Minister 1988-1992) and Michael Somare (Foreign Minister 1988-1992), for example, maintained senior roles in government, despite their support for the blockade and their failure to stop or even acknowledge the PNGDF’s war crimes (indeed Rabbie Namaliu is currently on BCL's Board of Directors). BCL was profoundly disappointed with this decision. Sadly, no one has ever been charged or tried for the war crimes committed on Bougainville. Bougainville Revolutionary Army, CommuniquÃ©, 29 November 1989. The war has been described as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War II, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvillean dead. There is no vacuum or hermetic sealing - merely a very logical time frame - not some chaotic outsider driven free for all. At this stage in the dispute BCL feared that the PLA was intending to alter the legal arrangements which governed the mining operation, using threats and emotive rhetoric. The villages were varying from five or six houses to 20 or 30 houses.”. Following this event BCL’s Chairman, Don Carruthers, petitioned the Prime Minister, Paias Wingti, to begin the seven year review in order to diffuse tensions on the island. No senior official from Australia or PNG has been formally censured, let aloneMore A new mining law was passed last month by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), opening up talk of the reopening of the Panguna mine – the catalyst of a 10-year civil war. They believed this would set a destructive precedent, illustrating that force could produce results. Both organisations provided considerable assistance. Bougainville — Tier I croiseur. For the Australian government, the Bougainville crisis raised a number of concerns (see Lasslett 2012). For example, I interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL during 1987-1992. Available online, Miriori, M. (2002). Socialist Register 2000: Working Classes Global Realities, London: Merlin. Tombs (forthcoming), 'State-Corporate Symbiosis in the Production of Crime and Harm', State Crime, 1(2). However, Australia’s greatest fear was that the uprising would cause PNG’s fragile state apparatus to crack. However, the BRA successfully shut the mine down just hours after its re-opening, while the peace agreement signing was stayed when a Provincial Minister involved in its construction was assassinated. Canberra: ANU E Press. Soldiers fired machine guns attached by rope, and grenades from grenade launchers or simply dropped grenades into villages” (Rogers 2002: 233). Believing that the law and order operation had demonstrated the government’s capacity to impose its authority, a meeting was called with moderate landowners opposed to Francis Ona. Bathurst: Crawford House Press. The discovery of vast copper ore deposits in Bougainville's Crown Prince Range in 1969 led to the establishment of a huge copper mine by the Australian company Conzinc Rio Tinto. So we supported them every way we could.”. As a result, in late March the mobile squads were instructed by the national government to restore order, with assistance from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF). While this alone was remarkable just before the turn of the millennium, what is absolutely astonishing was that the weapons had been “resurrected” from the WWII battlefields. Using the defence aid supplied by Australia and BCL the PNGDF conducted a series of offensive operations during July and August 1989. Like East Timor in the 1970s, the conflict rarely made the headlines. Internment camps, the mortaring of children, aerial bombardments, assassinations, rape, and the denial of humanitarian aid — these are just some of the criminal state practices endured by civilians during Papua New Guinea’s decade-long civil war on the island of Bougainville (1988-1998). (ed.) The Bougainville Crisis, Bathurst: Crawford House Press. So it would be difficult to argue that this support is based upon informed consent. Bougainville: Perspectives on a Crisis. Matilda’s mother, Dolores—a brave, deeply religious woman—endlessly promises her pining daughter that they will take the next boat to reunite with her father. BCL’s Managing Director immediately phoned key Ministers and organised an emergency meeting for the following morning. Case Study published 2012. In the following case study you will be exposed to the calculations, relations, and decisions that led two democratic states and a major multinational mining corporation, to organise a systematic campaign of state violence that terrorised the residents of Bougainville for almost a decade. Until Rio Tinto commits to full disclosure, any attempt to reopen the Bougainville mine will be another corporate blight on the deeply scarred people of this Melanesian island. Brunnschweiler, C., and Bulte E. H. (2008) 'The resource curse revisited and revised: a tale of paradoxes and red herrings', Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 55(3), 248-264. World War II, when: because of the natural affluence of their village life and the coverage of the [Bougainville] district by Christian missions (mainly Catholic and non-Australian), the administration neglected to play a conspicuous role in development almost until copper was discovered. It was no longer a land compensation issue nor a tribal conflict. A peace agreement resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. Extra-judicial killings, forced displacement, the internment of civilians, and the denial of humanitarian aid, were just some of the egregious tactics employed by the military. Braithwaite, J., Charlesworth, H., Reddy, R., and Dunn, L. (2010). The Police Minister later boasted to parliament “bones rattled on the island” (National Parliament of PNG, Record of Proceedings, 14 March, 1990). Armed opposition to the BRA in the form of a group calling itself the Bougainville Liberation Front had arisen in several areas, leading Bougainville into the quagmire of civil war. According to Regan (1996), the BRA began countering emerging loyalist sentiment through arrests, interrogation, torture and executions. Aware that the national government was preparing to resolve the crisis using “brutal firepower”, the BRA’s leader, Francis Ona, sends a hand written letter to the Prime Minister. Clive Parabou for images used in the background for chapters 1, 2, 3 and 7, in addition to the title and further readings sections. (1990). During this invasion, Task Force 39, led by … (2007), ‘The Dynamics of Papua New Guinea’s Democracy: An Essay’, Pacific Economic Bulletin, 22/1: 135–157. En 1763, il quitte l'armée avec le grade de colonel, pour la marine où il est nommé capitaine de frégate. Having marshalled 500 PNGDF troops, 300 RPNGC mobile squad officers, and 100 Correctional Service officers, Colonel Nuia implements a major military offensive in January 1990 in a last ditch effort to nuetralise the rebels and reopen the mine (by this stage BCL’s cash reserves were seriously depleted). Testimony of Senior Australian Department of Defence Official, Testimony of Senior Australian High Commission (Port Moresby) Official, Testimony of Senior Australian Defence Force Officer. BCL responded favourably. ‘A Bougainville Interim Government: Perspective on Early Peace Efforts’, in Carl, A., and Garasu, L. Then deal with the other issues (BCL, PNG, etc) in their own priority, in their own way in their own time. Moreover, internal ruptures began to appear as people grew tired of deprivation and a growing law and order problem (an under-resourced BRA failed to provide any systematic policing service). As a result, they instructed a PNGDF officer, Leo Nuia, to prepare the PNGDF for a decisive assault on BRA strongholds. The Wingti government, however, was toppled by a vote of no confidence in July 1988 before any progress could be made. I don’t know what I’d do without my weekly brain food. (eds.) A bloody civil war ensued, which took up to 20,000 lives on an island of 175,000 people. The Eyewitness Testimony of Marilyn Part 1, The Eyewitness Testimony of Marilyn Part 2. Pacific Scoop: Report – By Rowan Callick. Bougainville: Before the Conflict. The PNGDF, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, instrumentalised these tensions – their plan was to exacerbate the growing divisions on Bougainville by continuing the blockade, and by engaging in psychological operations. The new Prime Minister, Rabbie Namaliu, ordered an independent inquiry into the mining operation during August. You have to go” (Personal Communication, 2006). 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