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Goff welcomes UN report on East Timor crimes

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1 August 2005

Goff welcomes UN report on East Timor crimes

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the public release of a United Nations report on the prosecution of serious crimes committed in East Timor in 1999.

“The UN Commission of Experts’ report recommends further steps to ensure that those who were responsible are held to account,” Mr Goff said.

“New Zealand has consistently argued that there should be credible justice for the crimes committed in East Timor in 1999, and we supported the work of the Commission of Experts."

The report, commissioned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and written by a three-member Commission of Experts from Japan, India and Fiji, makes several recommendations, including that:

Indonesia strengthen its judicial and prosecutorial capacity by receiving advice from a team of international judicial and legal experts, preferably from Asia;

Indonesia's Attorney General's Office review its prosecutions and re-open some as may be appropriate; and,

If the recommendations are not implemented within six months, then the Security Council adopt a resolution to create an ad hoc criminal tribunal for East Timor. That tribunal would be located in a third state.

“The governments of East Timor and Indonesia have established a Truth and Friendship Commission, which will soon begin its work," Mr Goff said.

"The UN report contains recommendations related to the Commission, which enhance that body’s standing in the eyes of the international community. This includes the need for this body not to extend amnesty to those responsible for gross violations of human rights.

"I encourage Indonesia and East Timor to respond positively to the full range of recommendations in the report,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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