Subject: Lusa: Preparations to Establish "Truth and Justice" Commission

East Timor: Preparations to Establish 'Truth and Justice' Commission 5 Jul-21:07

East Timorese found guilty of committing less serious crimes during the plebiscite period in 1999 may eventually be sentenced to community service after presenting themselves to a 'truth and justice commission,' the framework of which is being prepared by UN officials and East Timorese leaders.

Sidney Jones, the top human rights official with the UN Transition Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), announced the proposal on Wednesday, telling media in Dili that the body would be based on a similar commission set up in South Africa.

The idea has been under discussion for the past two months, Jones said, adding that "there is still a lot to do, many steps to take, even to finish the final draft."

The most recent model envisages that victims of human rights abuse will be able to testify before a special panel that will register their experiences.

No matter what form the commission takes, it will operate under UNTAET jurisdiction, to "to guarantee impartiality," Jones said.

However, he stressed that serious crimes such as murder or rape will still be judged by East Timor's court system.

JBC -Lusa

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