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Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for new trial for Grenada 17

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ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (AP) June 29: A fact-finding panel in Grenada advised the government on Tuesday to grant new trials to 17 people convicted of killings in a 1983 coup that triggered a US invasion, one of the last conflicts of the Cold War.

In a report submitted to Parliament, the South Africa-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was formed to establish a clear record of events between 1976 and 1991 in this eastern Caribbean island, said that the so-called "Grenada 17" inmates should be granted new trials in the interest of national reconciliation.

"Having regard to the need for both victims of wrongdoing and the alleged wrongdoers to feel satisfied that justice is done ... the commission would prefer to see the state provide an appropriate opportunity for the 'Grenada 17' to access existing or established courts within the legal system," the report said.

The three-member commission also urged authorities to find all the remains of the people who were executed on October 19, 1983 - which include Marxist leader Maurice Bishop, four Cabinet ministers and six others.

About a week after the killings, thousands of US troops stormed the Caribbean island on a mission that then-US President Ronald Reagan said was aimed at restoring order, protecting hundreds of American medical students and preventing a buildup of Cuban military advisers and weapons.

Some details remain unclear, including the number of Grenadians killed and the whereabouts of Bishop's body. The US government puts the death toll at 19 Americans, 45 Grenadians and 24 Cubans.

"If the remains of those who were executed... they must be put to rest with a proper funeral and burial. There could also be a day set aside when people throughout the island who lost loved ones during or as a result of the tragedy of October 1983 can mourn the loss of their loved ones," the commission's report said.

Attorney General Elvin Nimrod said that the government would make all efforts to try to adopt the panel's recommendations.

"We have not identified priorities as of now because we are still looking at the report - but at some point we will have to decide our approach in terms of the recommendations," Nimrod said.

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