Subject: Lusa: Truth, reconciliation commission chief says more time needed

21-04-2003 11:52:00 GMT Invalid Hora local. Fonte LUSA . Notícia SIR-4942547

East Timor: Truth, reconciliation commission chief says more time needed

Dili, April 21 (Lusa) - The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) has already heard over 2,000 statements on human rights violations committed during the 25-year independence struggle against Indonesia, but needs an extension of its mandate, the independent body announced Monday.

The CAVR was set up on April 7, 2002 and has now received a total of 2,375 testimonies on human rights abuses in all of Timor's 13 districts, as well as a smaller number of voluntary statements from individuals responsible for "minor crimes", made at 159 community meetings for national reconciliation.

A further 90 cases have been referred to Timor's attorney general's office to determine whether they can be resolved at community meetings, or need to proceed to a formal trial.

CAVR president Aniceto Guterres Lopes told Lusa that the commission's two-year mandate is insufficient to fully carry out the necessary tasks of reconciliation and a six- month extension of its mandate is now necessary.

"I think there is political will for this extension", said Lopes, adding that the CAVR would need another USD 1.5 million to conclude its work.

Timor's truth seeking and community reconciliation commission is an independent statutory body that is probing human rights violations committed by all parties from the end of Portuguese colonial rule in 1974 to the bloody aftermath of the independence ballot in 1999, in which over a thousand Timorese were killed by rampaging pro-Jakarta militia gangs.

ASP/CJB -Lusa-

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