Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogging the UN Security Council meeting

[Webcast: Archived Video - English: 2 hours and 55 minutes ]

[Webcast: Archived Video - Original Language: 2 hours and 55 minutes ]


10:05 am - Delegates and staff are gathering in the Security Council chamber for a discussion (or more accurately a series of speeches and a few questions) on UNMIT and Timor-Leste. They have before them the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (for the period from 21 January to 23 September 2009).

The meeting is being broadcast on the UN website.

10:10 Deputy PM Jose Luis Guterres is representing Timor-Leste (TL). Other non-Security Council members, among them Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Portugal and Sweden have asked to speak.

10:11 SRSG Atul Khare will also address the Council.

10:16 Khare is talking about TL's budget, Tour d'Timor bicycle race, "successful" Suco elections (67.75% of registered voters cast ballots). communal peace, water, roads and infrastructure and education were issues.

10:20 Now talking about parliamentary debate on no confidence because of Maternus Bere release - Khare called the debate a positive step. Said legal issues must be dealt with in a competent court. Said Xanana said in debate that AMP does not seek amnesty law. Said Lasama (President of Parliament) said CTF and CAVR "may be discussed by parliament after budget debate" Khare said he has repeatedly stated "UN firm postion that there can be no amnesty or impunity for serious crimes"

*** see recent letters on justice to Security Council from ETAN and other groups and Lao Hamutuk ***

10:25 other issues Khare is discussing - judicial reform, police and security sector reform, phasing out of international security forces and UN Security Council mandate. Upcoming assessment of UN in TL must include consulting with national authorities, civil society and others. Seems to acknowledge that some see UN in TL as increasing irrelevent. Talking about examples of bi-lateral aid from various countries.

10:29 chronicling efforts by UNMIT to reduce its environmental impact ("footprint"), including less paper use. Atul is no saying his farewell and final thank yous as SRSG - his term ends shortly.

10:29 Jose Luis Guterres is now speaking. Speaking about parliamentary debate on Fretilin motion of no confidence. Called it 'lively debate," says decision taken was constitutional and in nation's interest. Says Bere was released to Indonesia because he is an Indonesian citizen, is still in Indonesian Embassy. Says lawyer petitioned court to release Bere on health grounds.

10:40 - praises judicial review commission which recently finished. Now discussing 2006 crisis - all IDP camps closed and IDPs integrated. Social housing, food assistance and other programs for most vulnerable. Praises conduct of Suco elections. Security sector review is priority. Reform is a long-term prospect, may take a generation.

10:46 talking petroleum - fund, national oil company; economic growth - 7 national priority areas for next year; national corruption commission. Now saying thanks to Atul Khare. Say TL needs UN presence until 2012. Japan is next up.

10:53- Japan is pleased with progress in a number of areas and agrees with SG reports cautious optimism. Says police handover should be based on criteria not timeline. Says civilian control of armed forces is fundamental. Says not take "hasty action" in next steps.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Groups write UN Security Council on Justice

ETAN coordinated this letter to the UN Security Council on justice and accountability for the people of Timor-Leste. More than 65 individuals representing nearly 50 organizations signed on short notice. Some excerpts below, full text here. La'o Hamutuk sent their own letter and memo.
As you meet this week to discuss the situation in Timor-Leste, we remind you that United Nations -- and more specifically Security Council -- pledges and obligations concerning human rights and accountability for serious human rights crimes remain unfulfilled.

Once again we urge the Security Council to implement the recommendations of the 2005 Commission of Experts (CoE) report and Chega! (Enough!), the final report of the Timor-Leste's Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR). Both reports urge establishing an ad hoc international tribunal should other efforts at justice fail. If anything, recent events confirm that the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia are unwilling or able to pursue justice. It is time for the Council to act.

Recent events have highlighted the necessity for international involvement in prosecuting serious crimes committed in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999, including the August arrest and extra-judicial release (under Indonesian pressure) of the former militia leader Martenus Bere. He had been arrested under an outstanding indictment for serious crimes committed in 1999 after crossing the border into Timor-Leste. His release not only undermined the rule of law in Timor-Leste, it clearly demonstrated that the government of Indonesia continues to undermine
efforts by the judiciary in Timor-Leste to prosecute Indonesian citizens accused of serious crimes committed in 1999 and before. There was an outcry from broad segments of Timor-Leste society against Bere's release, as shown by letters recently delivered to you from East Timorese.


We believe that the United Nations and the Council must live up to its promises to deny impunity to worst perpetrators, if only to reinforce your own credibility. We urge you to act now to implement the UN’s repeated promises by allocating the necessary political, financial and legal resources to end impunity for these crimes against humanity.

We strongly believe that real accountability will reinforce democracy and the rule of law in both Indonesia and Timor-Leste, as well as support genuine reconciliation between the two peoples.


A full decade has passed since Indonesia’s violent exit from Timor-Leste. Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated that it will act to prevent credible prosecution of Indonesian citizens for crimes connected with Indonesia’s occupation of Timor-Leste. We urge Interpol to issue arrest warrants for all those indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit who remain at large, at a minimum to discourage these suspects from traveling internationally. Other sanctions should be considered as well.