INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Release of Un Commission of Inquiry Report On Timor Crisis

Published: Tue 17 Oct 2006 01:07 PM
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DILI 000517
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TAGS: PGOV KPKO ASEC UN AU TT
SUBJECT: RELEASE OF UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REPORT ON TIMOR CRISIS
REF: Dili 487
DILI 00000517 001.2 OF 002
1. Summary: The Report of the United Nations Independent Special
Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste was released today to the
National Parliament of East Timor and to the public. The UN
Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) will now commence with
an effort to distribute it widely throughout the country. The
release was followed by a joint appearance by the President,
Prime Minister, and President of Parliament, commending the work
of the Commission and urging the Timorese public and
institutions to now seriously consider the findings and
recommendations. There has so far been no notable change in
Dili's security environment, but we will continue to closely
monitor the situation over the coming days. The key findings of
the report are consistent with the information we received in
advance. Although not directly recommended for prosecution,
former Prime Minister Alkatiri is described as holding the
greatest political responsibility for the crisis and the report
finds that there is sufficient evidence to merit further
investigation of his possible role in unlawful arms
distributions. High profile individuals recommended for
criminal prosecution include: former Minister of Interior
Rogerio Lobato, dissident armed forces Major Alfredo Reinado,
former Minister of Defence Roque Rodrigues and the Chief of
Defence Force Taur Matan Ruak. End summary.
2. The Report of the United Nations Independent Special
Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste was officially issued to
the National Parliament today at 4:00pm Dili time. The
Commission was established in response to a request by the
Government of East Timor to conduct a fact-finding mission on
the events of April 28-29 and May 23-25, and to establish
responsibility for the events and recommend accountability
measures. Acting Special Representative for the Secretary
General (SRSG) Finn Reske-Nielsen delivered the Report to
President of Parliament, Francisco "Lu'olo" Guterres. Hard
copies of the Tetum translation were delivered to all Members of
Parliament. No other hard copies were immediately available to
the public, but according to sources in UNMIT, a campaign will
now commence to distribute the report widely, including to all
the districts, channeling it through churches, political
parties, and NGOs as well as local government offices . The
report has also been posted on line in its original English as
well as the three languages into which it was translated: Tetum,
Portuguese and Indonesian. However, very few Timorese have
internet access.
3. Following the release in Parliament, President Xanana Gusmao,
President of Parliament Lu'olo and Prime Minister Jose
Ramos-Horta made a joint appearance to deliver a national
message on the Report. Speaking on behalf of all three, Gusmao
commended the writers of the report for their impartiality and
good analysis and encouraged all branches of government to
immediately review the recommendations relevant to them, noting
that the responsibility to respond to the Report now lay in
Timorese hands. He also called on all groups involved in
violence to immediately end such activities. This is only the
second time that these three have appeared together since the
crisis began. The first time, last week, was also to deliver a
national message in advance of the Report's release. It is
hoped that these appearances will discourage divisiveness in
response to the report.
No change in security environment so far
----------------------------------------
4. Timorese residents of Dili have been increasingly nervous
this past week about the issuance of the report. Many have been
afraid that the release will initiate a round of increased
violence and there has been a renewed trend of people leaving
Dili to return to the districts. The ambiguity that surrounded
the timing of the report release also fed an increasingly active
rumor mill as people began conjecturing that the delay was
caused by manipulation to change the contents of the report.
The release of the report has, however, not produced an
immediate change in the security environment as of this writing.
So far, Timorese we have spoken to who have had a chance to
review the Report have responded positively, noting that it
DILI 00000517 002.2 OF 002
seems to be an impartial document. However, Emboffs observed
that many shops closed down early this afternoon, and many
people opted to leave work early. The American citizen
community, who were yesterday invited for a security briefing at
the Embassy in preparation for the Report, were informed this
afternoon of the release and advised to refer to the most recent
warden message for current security advice. We will continue to
monitor the situation in the coming days.
Key findings of the Report
--------------------------
5. The content of the report appears to largely conform with the
information we received earlier from a Commission source (see
reftel). The key findings of the Report were provided in a
press release from the Office of the High Commissioner for
Refugees in Geneva and are excerpted below:
a) Regarding the events of April 28-29:
-- That the Government failed to follow the requisite
legislative procedures in calling out the F-FDTL on 28 April
2006, a matter for which those members of the Crisis Cabinet who
made the decision, and in particular the former Prime Minister
bears responsibility.
-- That there was no massacre by the F-FDTL of 60 people at Taci
Tolu on 28-29 April.
b) Regarding the events of May 23:
-- That the evidence establishes that Major Reinado and the men
who comprised his group are reasonably suspected of having
committed crimes against life and the person during the armed
confrontation in Fatu Ahi.
-- That although the President should have shown more restraint
and respect for institutional channels in communicating directly
with Major Reinado after his desertion, the President did not
order or authorize the armed group of men under the command of
Major Reinado to carry out criminal actions.
c) Regarding the events of May 25:
-- That the Chief of Defence Force Taur Matan Ruak cannot be
held criminally responsible for the shooting of the unarmed PNTL
officers by F-FDTL soldiers after the ceasefire had been
established on 25 May, although he failed to exhaust all avenues
to either prevent or stop the confrontation between the F-FDTL
and PNTL.
d) Regarding weapons distribution:
-- That both PNTL and F-FDTL weapons were distributed to
civilians.
-- That there was an absence of systematic control over weapons
and ammunition within the security sector, particularly within
the PNTL. The Commission finds that the Minister of Interior
Rogerio Lobato and the General Commander Paulo Martins bypassed
institutional procedures by transferring irregularly weapons
within the institution.
-- That in arming civilians, the Minister of Interior Rogerio
Lobato, the Minister of Defence Roque Rodrigues and the Chief of
Defence Force Taur Matan Ruak acted without lawful authority and
created a situation of significant potential danger. They should
be held accountable for illegal transfer of weapons.
e) Regarding former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri:
-- That he failed to use his firm authority to denounce the
transfer of security sector weapons to civilians in the face of
credible information that such transfer was ongoing and involved
members of the Government.
-- That there is no evidence before the Commission which could
lead to a recommendation that the former Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri be prosecuted for being personally involved in the
illegal movement, possession or use of weapons. Nevertheless,
there is information before the Commission giving rise to a
suspicion that he knew about the illegal arming of civilians
with PNTL weapons by Rogerio Lobato. Accordingly, the Commission
has recommended further investigation to determine whether the
former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri bears any criminal
responsibility with respect to weapons offences.
GRAY
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