Dili, 16 January 2002


SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello is expected to sign a regulation tomorrow morning announcing the calendar for East Timor's upcoming Presidential election.

At the same press conference the SRSG is also expected to announce the names of the seven National Commissioners to sit on East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (see following story).

Twenty-six international electoral experts from 19 countries arrived in Dili earlier this week as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the electoral authority in East Timor, began preparing its operations to organize the April presidential election.

District Electoral offices, run entirely by East Timorese staff, have been working since the Constituent Assembly elections in August of last year to train local electoral officers for the next election.

By the end of this week, after training at the IEC headquarters in Dili, 13 international district advisers and 13 international logistic assistants will be deployed to their respective districts to join their East Timorese electoral colleagues.

In addition, 150 East Timorese District Electoral Officers will come to Dili next Monday to receive special training before beginning voter education activities in each of East Timor's sub-districts.

The IEC will be in full operation by the beginning of next month when 150 international United Nations Volunteers will arrive in Dili. After a three days of training the UNV's will be deployed to the districts. By that time, a Board of Commissioners composed of three East Timorese and two internationals will also be in place.


SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello is tomorrow scheduled to announce the seven National Commissioners for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.

The seven National Commissioners will be at the forefront of addressing issues of reconciliation and justice in East Timor. The Commission will inquire into and establish the truth about human rights violations in East Timor between April 1974 and October 1999; support the reintegration of people who have committed minor criminal offences or harmful acts through a community-based reconciliation process; and submit a report to the Government outlining recommendations as to how to prevent future recurrences of human rights violations.

The National Commissioners will be sworn by the SRSG next Monday at a public ceremony in Dili.


A delegation of justice officials from East Timor began working level talks today with their Indonesian counterparts in Denpasar, Indonesia.

The talks are focusing on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, as well as means of achieving better legal and judicial cooperation between the two countries.

The delegation from East Timor includes Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor General Mohamed Othman, and UNTAET's new Deputy Prosecutor and Head of Serious Crimes Unit, Mrs. Siri Frigaard.

The Indonesian delegation includes Indonesian Attorney General Mohamad Abdurrahman and high-level members of his staff.

The meeting is a follow up to talks held last October in Jakarta between Deputy SRSG Dennis McNamara, Othman, Mohamad Abdurrahman and Indonesian Justice Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra.


Ambassador Leandro Despouy, Chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission, today visited East Timor's Bobonaro district to discuss reconciliation and justice issues with communities affected by the violence preceding and following the 1999 referendum.

Upon his arrival in Maliana town, the Ambassador visited the police station at which 47 people were killed in September 1999, then drove to Balibo. At both places he met with victims of the violence or the families of those killed.

The Ambassador stressed that he would continue to push the international community to support justice and reconciliation in East Timor, and heard the concerns of many who said that reconciliation cannot be achieved without justice being served.

Ambassador Despouy is on a five-day official visit to East Timor.