Subject: JP: Dili truth commission clarifies (letter)

Dili commission clarifies The Jakarta Post - Indonesia; Mar 14, 2002

I am writing in response to an article that was printed in The Jakarta Post on Feb. 27, regarding the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (Xanana, East Timor leaders face human rights questioning).

I would like to express my serious concerns over the inaccuracy of some of the information contained in the article. Specifically, the article states that the Commission "is planning to question several proindependence leaders, including Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao, for allegedly committing human rights abuses in the territory during the period from April 1974 to October 1999". The article goes on to report that the Chair of the Commission, namely myself, has stated that a number of East Timorese leaders "will also be questioned in connection with alleged atrocities that took place during East Timor's turbulent time".

I wish to inform you that I have not made any such statements during my visit to Kupang recently, upon which this report is based. The comments that I made in response to questions from journalists in no way implied that the Commission has plans at this time to question particular individuals. When asked whether the Commission will consider questioning high-level figures (such as Xanana) in the future, my response was that the Commission is independent and impartial, and that if sufficient evidence comes to light, the Commission will consider questioning any party that is implicated in serious human rights violations.

This article provides inaccurate information to the general public, and its contents were unfortunately also repeated by at least one radio station in East Timor.

During the two-year period of the Commission's work, we will rely on the media to accurately report on developments, and to assist us in informing the public of the Commission's progress. I hope that we will be able to rely on the Post's support in the future also.

Chairman, Commission for Reception Truth and Reconciliation Dili, East Timor

Note: Thank you for your clarification.


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