26 July 2007
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11101

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS UN OFFICIALS WILL NOT TESTIFY AT TIMOR-LESTE COMMISSION,


AS TERMS OF REFERENCE INCLUDE POSSIBLE AMNESTY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


On several occasions, the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) has invited to testify at its proceedings former staff members of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), including the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ian Martin.


The terms of reference of the CTF envisage the possibility that that body may recommend amnesty, and do not preclude it from making such a recommendation in respect of acts that constitute a crime against humanity, a gross violation of human rights or a serious violation of international humanitarian law.  The United Nations’ policy, however, is that the Organization cannot endorse or condone amnesties for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or gross violations of human rights, nor should it do anything that might foster them.  It is the firm intention of the Secretary-General to uphold this position of principle.


Unless the terms of reference are revised to comply with international standards, officials of the United Nations will, therefore, not testify at its proceedings or take any other steps that would support the work of the CTF and thereby further the possible grant of amnesties in respect of such acts.  The position of the United Nations with regard to the CTF has been clearly outlined in the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Justice and Reconciliation for Timor-Leste (S/2006/580).  Though it will not take part in the process, the United Nations is informed about the ongoing proceedings of the CTF and wishes, therefore, to also take this opportunity to say that it stands unequivocally by the exemplary work of UNAMET during the popular consultation in 1999 and throughout the course of its mandate.


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For information media • not an official record