September 14th, 2006 03:35 EST
Timor-Leste: UN commissioners near completion of probe
The United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste is close to finishing its report into the violence earlier this year that engulfed the country, causing 37 deaths and forcing more than 150,000 people – or about 15 per cent of the national population – to flee their homes.
At a press conference today in Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital, the inquiry’s three commissioners said they expect to submit their report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Timor-Leste’s Parliament by early October, within the time frame established when the probe was created.
For the past 10 days, the commissioners Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (chair), Ralph Zacklin and Zelda Holtzman said they have been reviewing the information gathered so far and interviewing or re-interviewing key actors. About 200 people have been interviewed and more than 3,000 relevant documents collected.
The inquiry’s mandate is: to establish what happened during the outbreaks of violence on 28-29 April and 23-25 May, and any related events which contributed to the crisis; to clarify responsibility for those events; and to recommend measures to ensure accountability for any crimes or serious human rights violations that were committed.
The three commissioners said they expect to leave Timor-Leste at the end of this week and then head to Geneva near the end of the month to finalize the text of the report.
In a statement to the press conference, the commissioners thanked Timorese institutions and individuals who cooperated with the inquiry and voiced hope that the Government and key institutions will seriously consider any recommendations they make in the report.
“We are conscious of the fact that there are high expectations on the part of the leaders of the Government, representatives of various groups and individuals we met, and by the general population that our report will contribute to the rebuilding of confidence in the institutions of Government and the rule of law,” the joint statement said.