Dili, 9 January 2002


Mrs. Siri Frigaard from Norway arrived in Dili today to take up a position heading UNTAET’s Serious Crimes Unit.

Frigaard, who is filling the post of Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes, has taken leave from her position as Director for the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office of Oslo. She has previously served as Special Legal Adviser to the General Prosecutor of Albania and has represented Norway in the Baltic Sea Cooperation concerning international legal aid.

Frigaard has also worked as Deputy Chief Commissioner at the Oslo Police Department and is a lecturer at the Norwegian Police Academy.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the Office of the General Prosecutor of East Timor is investigating and prosecuting major incidents of mass killings and forced deportation, as well as individual offences of murder, rape, torture and other Crimes Against Humanity committed in East Timor between 1 January and 25 October 1999.

Thirty-three indictments on serious crimes cases – 11 of which are Crimes Against Humanity cases – have so far been issued concerning 83 alleged perpetrators. Twenty-one persons have already been tried and convicted.

The new Deputy Prosecutor is taking over the Serious Crimes Unit during a time when special consideration is being made to refugee returns, including former militia members who are suspected of committing acts of violence in 1999. The Unit has recently reorganized itself so that Prosecutors lead their investigations in the districts in order to address requests for investigations from local communities..


East Timor’s Constituent Assembly today passed a further nine articles of the 151-article draft Constitution, all of which relate to the functions and structure of the Government.

All the articles were passed with wide majorities. They include:

Article 97, that states “The Government is the organ of sovereignty responsible for conducting and executing the country’s general policy and is the supreme organ of Public Administration.”

Article 98, that states the Government will comprise a Prime Minister, Ministers and Secretaries of State.

Article 100, that stipulates that the party with the most seats in Parliament, or a coalition of parties with the majority, will choose the Prime Minister. The President will appoint members of the Government after they have been proposed by the Prime Minister.

Article 101 says the Government will be accountable to the President of the Republic and Parliament for achieving its domestic and foreign policies and will report on its activities in accordance with the law.

Article 103 says the Government’s programme should be debated by Parliament and that this debate should not exceed five days. The section says that it is mandatory to convene the Parliament to consider the Government’s programme. The Government may request a vote of confidence from the Parliament and the rejection of the programme shall require an absolute majority of the members.

Article 104 empowers the Government to request a vote of confidence from the Parliament on general policy issues or other matters of national interest.

Article 105 empowers the Parliament to pass a vote of no-confidence on the Government regarding its implementation of its programmes or any matter of national interest. The no-confidence debate must follow a proposal by one-quarter of the members.