UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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Independent Special Commission of Inquiry
for Timor Leste



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17 October 2006
Today the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste submitted its report to the National Parliament of Timor-Leste according to its mandate. A copy of the report was provided to each member of the National Parliament, the Prime Minister and the President of Timor-Leste.

The Commission was established subsequent to the invitation from the then Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs José Ramos-Horta. Its mandate was to establish the facts and circumstances relevant to incidents on 28-29 April and 23-25 May 2006, and related events or issues that contributed to the crisis; clarify responsibility for the events; and recommend measures of accountability for crimes and serious human rights violations of human rights allegedly committed during the specified period.

After a careful examination of more than 2000 documents and in excess of 200 interviews conducted by the Secretariat of the Commission and the Commissioners, the Commission has made its conclusions, findings and recommendations.

Important findings of the Commission included:
28-29 April

· That the Government failed to follow the requisite legislative procedures in calling out the F-FDTL on 28 April 2006, a matter for which those members of the Crisis Cabinet who made the decision, and in particular the former Prime Minister bears responsibility.
· That there was no massacre by the F-FDTL of 60 people at Taci Tolu on 28-29 April.

23 May
· That the evidence establishes that Major Reinado and the men who comprised his group are reasonably suspected of having committed crimes against life and the person during the armed confrontation in Fatu Ahi.
· That although the President should have shown more restraint and respect for institutional channels in communicating directly with Major Reinado after his desertion, the President did not order or authorise the armed group of men under the command of Major Reinado to carry out criminal actions.

25 May
· That the Chief of Defence Force Taur Matan Ruak cannot be held criminally responsible for the shooting of the unarmed PNTL officers by F-FDTL soldiers after the ceasefire had been established on 25 May, although he failed to exhaust all avenues to either prevent or stop the
confrontation between the F-FDTL and PNTL.

Weapons
· That both PNTL and F-FDTL weapons were distributed to civilians.
· That there was an absence of systematic control over weapons and ammunition within the security sector, particularly within the PNTL. The Commission finds that the Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato and the General Commander Paulo Martins bypassed institutional procedures by transferring irregularly weapons within the institution.

· That in arming civilians, the Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, the Minister of Defence Roque Rodrigues and the Chief of Defence Force Taur Matan Ruak acted without lawful authority and created a situation of significant potential danger. They should be held accountable for illegal transfer of weapons.

· With regard to the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, that he failed to use his firm authority to denounce the transfer of security sector weapons to civilians in the face of credible information that such transfer was ongoing and involved members of the Government.

· That there is no evidence before the Commission which could lead to a recommendation that the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri be prosecuted for being personally involved in the illegal movement, possession or use of weapons. Nevertheless, there is information before the Commission giving rise to a suspicion that he knew about the illegal arming of civilians with PNTL weapons by Rogerio Lobato. Accordingly, the Commission has recommended further investigation to determine whether the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri bears any criminal responsibility with respect to weapons offences.

The Commission has identified numerous persons reasonably suspected of direct participation in criminal activity during the crisis, and recommended them to be prosecuted. Also identified are persons of interest, whose involvement in events during April-May warrants further investigation.

The Commission has recommended in its report that criminal cases should be handled impartially and without political interference within the national judicial system, led by independent and international judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers specially assigned to the cases that resulted from the events of April and May 2006.

It has also looked into the institutional responsibility of various individuals and institutions. It has reached a conclusion that the fragility of various State institutions and the weakness of the rule of law were the underlining factors that contributed to the crisis.

The Commission trusts that its conclusion, findings and recommendations will be given serious consideration and that the report will be utilized towards reinforcing the institutions of the country. The Commission also hopes that the report will contribute to the rebuilding of confidence in the institutions of the Government and the rule of law.

Finally, the Commission would like to express its appreciation for the full cooperation given to us by all individuals and institutions.

Questions and answers
For press queries please contact:
José Luis Díaz, OHCHR Spokesperson, jdiaz@ohchr.org, +41 22 917 9242