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Peters calls for positive response to Timor report

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

19 October 2006

Peters calls for positive response to Timor report

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is urging key players in Timor-Leste to respond cautiously and positively to the United Nations Special Commission of Inquiry's report into violence that shook the country earlier this year.

The report recommends that a number of senior government figures, including the former prime minister, interior minister and defence minister, and the current defence force chief, be investigated or prosecuted over the unrest that led to the deaths of 37 people in April and May.

"Justice and accountability are important parts of the political dialogue and social reconciliation that Timor-Leste desperately needs. This report, if dealt with carefully and constructively, can make a contribution to those processes," Mr Peters said.

However it was important that the report was seen in a wider context.

"The report states that its findings and recommendations should not be considered as ends in themselves. Rather, they should be viewed as the foundation for capacity building, the strengthening of State institutions and the rule of law. New Zealand endorses that approach," Mr Peters said.

"The report makes a number of very serious findings, and recommends the further investigation and even prosecution of prominent political figures.

"It will be important for any such investigations and prosecutions to be conducted fairly and transparently to avoid any allegations of political bias or manipulation.

"The tasks suggested in the report may be well beyond the current capacity of Timor-Leste's state and judicial systems. New Zealand, along with the rest of the international community, will look at what it can do to support those fragile institutions," Mr Peters said.

ENDS

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