13 December -- The East Timor Transitional Cabinet has agreed to the establishment of a truth commission that will focus on reintegrating refugees, documenting human rights abuses and creating safeguards to protect rights in the future, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said today.
Recognizing the urgency of finalizing a draft regulation to establish the new Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation, the Cabinet referred the matter to the East Timor National Council. Inaugurated last October, the National Council is a precursor to a future East Timorese Parliament.
In another development, UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello has asked a Cabinet member to prepare a paper formally proposing to enhance the power of East Timorese Cabinet members. The paper, he said, is to be prepared in cooperation with UNTAET's Principal Legal Advisor.
Speaking to the Council today, Mr. Vieira de Mello said the document would also contain provisions to allow the UN mission to better collaborate with the East Timor Transitional Administration (ETTA) in the task of creating the basis for a sustainable governing administration in the country. He said he hoped to be able to submit the paper to Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York before the end of this week.