Subject: LUSA: UN names panel to investigate violence, alleged civilian arms

Also TERMS OF REFERENCE for commission

East Timor: UN names panel to investigate violence, alleged civilian arms

Washington, June 30 (Lusa) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named a Brazilian-led panel, at Dili's request, to investigate the bloody clashes in April and May that led to East Timor's descent into violence and political turmoil.

In a statement issued Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, Annan said the Independent Special Commission on East Timor would have three months to prepare its report, focusing primarily on the deadly incidents in and around Dili on April 28-29 and May 23-25 that involved clashes between rival security force factions.

"The commission's mandate includes clarifying responsibilities for the events and recommending measures to assure accountability for the crimes and gave violations of human rights that allegedly were committed during this period", the UN statement said.

The three-member panel will be headed by Sérgio Pinheiro of Brazil, backed by South African Zelda Holtsman and Briton Ralph Zacklin.

Central to the investigation, requested by Dili, are conflicting allegations of the distribution of weapons to civilians during the breakdown of law and order.

President Xanana Gusmão, accused Friday by supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri of having distributed arms to anti-government forces, replied that he would accept all findings by the UN inquiry and would "go to prison" if found at fault.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Longuinhos Monteiro told Britain's BBC that Timorese magistrates did not hear Alkatiri as planned Friday on allegations of his involvement in a purported hit team plot because he claimed "immunity" as a member of parliament and his "lawyers have yet to arrive from abroad".

Monteiro said prosecutors would meet Friday to analyze the claim of immunity by Alkatiri, who has strongly denied the allegations and promised earlier to collaborate with investigators.

Alkatiri's former interior minister has been indicted on four counts, including conspiracy and plotting revolution, and has been placed under house arrest while awaiting trial.




[bios of commissioners follow below]

United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste (2006)



On 8 June 2006, the Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste wrote to the United Nations Secretary-General inviting the United Nations to "establish an independent Special Inquiry Commission" to "review the incidents on 28-29 April, 23, 24 and 25 May and other related events or issues which contributed to the crisis.

The Secretary-General responded favourably to the request. On 1 June 2006, he requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish such a Commission; a decision communicated to the Security Council on 13 June 2006 (S/PV5457).


The Commission is an independent body. It will report to the Secretary-General, through the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Its mandate will be as follows;

* Establish the facts and circumstances relevant to incidents on 28 and 29 April, 23, 24 and 25 May and related events or issues that contributed to the crisis, including issues related to the functioning of the security sector;

* Clarify responsibility for the above-mentioned events;

* Recommend measures to ensure accountability for crimes and serious violations of human rights allegedly committed during the above-mentioned period taking into account that the Government of Timor-Leste considers that the domestic justice system which has the participation of international judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, should be the primary avenue of accountability for these alleged crimes and violations; and,

* Report its findings within three mouths of its establishment through the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Secretary-General and the National Parliament of Timor-Leste.


The Commissioners

The Commission will be composed of three members. They will be selected by the Secretary-General upon the recommendation of the High Commissioner for Human Rights based on their expertise, integrity and independence. They will he chosen on the basis of their expertise in:

* investigating serious human rights violations;

* investigating crimes; and

* security sector reform;

Expertise and knowledge of the situation in Timor-Leste will be considered an asset

The Commissioners will be experts on the mission. They will be called upon to convene in Timor-Leste a maximum of two times, for a total duration of five weeks. They will also make two trips to Geneva for a maximum total duration of one week. During these two visits, the Executive Director (see below) and other staff, as necessary, will accompany them,

The Secretariat

The Commissioners will be supported by a Secretariat established and supported by OHCHR. The Secretariat will be located in Timor- Leste. It will he headed by an Executive Director and will be composed of an investigative team staffed by experts in human rights and criminal law issues, a political adviser, a human rights legal adviser, an expert in military sector reform, an expert in police sector reform, a data-management officer, security officers and other administrative support staff.

Method of work:

The Commission must enjoy the full cooperation of the Government of Timor-Leste. It shall be provided with the necessary facilities to enable it to discharge its mandate, and shall, in particular, be guaranteed:

a. Freedom of movement throughout the territory of Timor-Leste, including facilities of transport.

b. Unhindered access to all places and establishments, and freedom to meet and interview representatives of Governmental and local authorities, military authorities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations and other institutions, and any such person whose testimony is considered necessary for the fulfillment of its mandate.

c. Free access to all sources of information, including documentary material and physical evidence,

d. Appropriate security arrangements for the personnel and documents of the Commission,

e. Protection of victims and witnesses and all those who are in contact with the Commission in connection with the inquiry; no such person shall, as a result of such appearance, suffer harassment, threats, acts of intimidation, ill-treatment or reprisals.

f. Privileges, immunities and facilities necessary for the independent conduct of the inquiry. In particular, the Commissioners, Members, and staff shall enjoy the privileges and immunities accorded to experts on missions and officials under the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.

Collaboration with other United Nations Departments and Agencies

OHCHR will work collaboratively with other United Nations departments and agencies on this issue. While in Timor-Leste, the Commission and its staff will rely on the logistical and technical support of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).


Biography of Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

Positions in International Bodies

August 1999: Rapporteur of the meeting of the UN Sub-commission on the protection and promotion of human rights.

May 1997- May 1998: Chairperson of the group of UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteurs, Special Representatives and Experts of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva;

1995- 1999: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi;

1995- 2001: Vice-president of the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission. Bern, Switzerland (since 1998) Member of that Commission;

2000-2002; Member of the Civil Society Organizations Committee. UNDP, New York;

2000: Member of the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Alleged Human Rights Violation in Togo, appointed by the UN Secretary- General;

1998 to present: Member of the UN Sub-commission on the promotion and protection of human rights, Geneva;

2001... Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar;

2002: Member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC:, Group of International Advisors. Geneva;

February 2003; Independent Expert appointed by the UN Secretary/ General to prepare a worldwide report on violence against children;

2003 - 2007: Member of the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States. Washington DC;


Biography of Zelda Holtzman Police Expert

1976: A community and anti-Apartheid activist until the unbanning of political organisations in South Africa. Has been engaged in community development work in the fields of community law and restorative justice whilst working as a Project Manager for the Community Peace Foundation, an NGO affiliated to the University of the Western Cape;

1995: Was recruited and integrated to the South African Police Service to facilitate the transformation of the police service through policy and strategy development, drafting of implementation plans and processes and engaging in advocacy work;

2004: International Police Expert; King's College Security Study, East Timor

Until May 2003: Was appointed Deputy Provincial Commissioner of Police in the Western Cape and served in both operational and support capacities;

Present: Executive Director of the Restorative Justice Initiative. an NGO involved in the training of communities at street level in alternative dispute resolution and problem solving techniques.


Biography of Ralph Zacklin International Career

1973-1989; Legal Officer in the General Legal Division and Senior Legal Officer and Director in the Office of the Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs;

1989-1997: Director and Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General, Office of Legal Affairs;

1997-1998: Officer-in-Charge and Acting Deputy High Commissioner, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva:

1998-2006: UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs:

1999: Elected a Fellow of University College London

2006: Appointed Senior Fellow of the Faculty of Law of the University of Melbourne. Australia.

Back to June menu
May menu      
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu