Press Releases

    15 August 2002


    NEW YORK, 14 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The High Commissioner for Human Rights today issued a statement on the proceedings at the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal in Jakarta, which the Secretary-General fully endorses.

    In addition, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General wishes to address another issue related to the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal. In the course of the proceedings, it has been suggested by judges, prosecutors and defendants that there were irregularities in the conduct of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) during the 30 August 1999 Popular Consultation process in East Timor. These irregularities are alleged to have contributed to the widespread violence that engulfed the territory in September 1999. These allegations are false.

    In this connection, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General would like, for the record, to note four important points:

    -- Security responsibility throughout the Popular Consultation process rested at all times with the Indonesian authorities, not with UNAMET, as set out in the Agreements of 5 May 1999. Furthermore UNAMET was completely unarmed.

    -- An independent Electoral Commission certified the results, after a close scrutiny of complaints. Not one ballot box was unaccounted for.

    -- Recruitment to work for UNAMET was open to all qualified East Timorese, regardless of their political beliefs.

    -- The announcement of the result on 4 September 1999 was in accordance with planned procedures, in consultation with the Indonesian Government.

    Therefore it cannot be concluded that the large scale, organized and coordinated violence of September and October 1999, following the announcement of the result of the popular consultation, was a consequence of any irregularities in the ballot, bias or abdication of security responsibilities on the part of UNAMET. It should also be recalled that in the violence, United Nations local staff were killed because they worked for UNAMET and United Nations property was systematically looted and destroyed.

    The United Nations reiterates its offer to make available to the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal, upon request of the Indonesian authorities, evidence in connection with these or other relevant issues.

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