21 February 2005

Secretary-General Appoints Expert Commission to Review Prosecution of 1999 Human Rights Violations in East Timor

NEW YORK, 18 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General decided to appoint Justice Prafullachandra Bhagwati of India, Professor Yozo Yokota of Japan, and Ms. Shaista Shameem of Fiji to an independent Commission of Experts to review the prosecution of serious human rights violations committed in East Timor in 1999.

The Secretary-General recalls that the Security Council in its resolution 1573 (2004) reaffirmed the need to fight against impunity. In response, the Secretary-General on 11 January informed the President of the Security Council of his decision to establish a Commission of Experts. On 26 January, the President of the Security Council responded to the Secretary-General that the members of the Council had taken note of it.

The Commission would assess the progress made by the judicial processes in Dili and Jakarta, and make recommendations to the Secretary-General with regard to possible future actions. The Commission would further consider how its analysis could be of assistance to the Commission of Truth and Friendship, which Indonesia and Timor-Leste agreed to establish. In his letters of 22 December to President Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Gusmao of Timor-Leste, the Secretary-General outlined to them the tasks of the Commission, and requested their cooperation.

The Secretary-General is of the view that the work of the Commission could complement that of the Truth and Friendship Commission, and expresses his hope that the Governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste will extend full cooperation to the Commission of Experts.

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