Commission is an independent, national mechanism which will assist
reconciliation between East Timorese and establish the truth about human rights
violations committed between 1974 and 1999. The Commission was initially
proposed by CNRT.
It was then developed by a committee comprising representatives of CNRT,
six East Timorese NGOs, UNHCR, and the UNTAET Human Rights Unit. This
committee traveled to all the districts to listen to public opinion on the idea
of establishing this Commission.
Since then, the National Council has approved the regulation which
establishes the Commission.
This has now become the law in East Timor.
The Commission will be an independent body headed by 5-7 national commissioners nominated by the people. The Commissioners will be chosen for their wisdom, integrity, and commitment to human rights principles. Public nominations will be received by a Selection Panel. The Commission will also establish up to six regional offices. Each Regional Office will also be led by Regional Commissioners who are nominated through the same process.
Selection Panel for the Commissioners has recently been established. The
Panel will conduct consultations and select the best candidates for the
Commission. Since the time of appointment of Commissioners, the Commission
will operate for two years (with a 6-month extension if needed). At the
end of its work, the Commission will make a report and recommendations to the
government. It is expected that the Commission will begin its work towards
the end of 2001.
will the Commission do?
Commission will have three main functions:
Commission will seek the truth regarding human rights violations that occurred
in East Timor between April 25 1974 and October 25 1999. The Commission
will undertake special investigations and historical research, as well as a
nation-wide statement taking process. To assist in establishing the truth,
the Commission will have powers to order persons to give evidence before them.
Commission is based on the principle that genuine reconciliation requires
justice and that individuals must accept responsibility for their actions.
People who committed less-serious crimes during 1999 and before this can
approach the Commission and ask that these acts be dealt with by the Commission.
A panel of local leaders, chaired by a Regional Commissioner, would call
together a meeting of the perpetrator, victims and local community members. They
would discuss the crimes and propose an agreement whereby the perpetrator could
do community work, make a repayment or public apology or undertake other acts of
reconciliation. If this process is completed, the District Court will make an
order that those acts cannot be prosecuted in the future.
the end of its work, the Commission will produce a report which will be an
important historical record of the extent, causes and accounting of human rights
violations which occurred between 1974-1999. The Commission will
make recommendations to the government on legal and institutional reforms to
safeguard human rights in the future.
kind of crimes will the Commission deal with in the community reconciliation
Commission will be able to deal with crimes such as theft, minor assault,
burning houses, stealing or killing animals, destroying or stealing crops that
occurred in the context of East Timorís political conflict.
will the Commission deal with serious crimes?
Commission will not be able to deal with serious crimes such as killing, rape or
the organizing of violence through its community reconciliation process.
However, the Commission may hear testimonies or receive statements from victims,
perpetrators and witnesses in relation to serious crimes through its
truth-telling function. Evidence of serious crimes that arises during the
Commissionís work will be referred to the courts.
does the Commission have the word Reception in its title?
is because the Commission offers East Timorese who have returned from West Timor
or are still there an orderly and peaceful way of being received back into their
will the Commission deal with crimes by Indonesia or those living in Indonesia?
Commissionís jurisdiction is limited to East Timor, but it may hold hearings
outside East Timor. It will collect evidence that could be used for prosecution
by Indonesia or the international community.
will it be funded?
Commission will be independently funded by international donors, a number of
whom have already pledged support.
can I participate in the nomination of Commissioners?
You can participate in the nomination process by discussing in your community who should best sit as National and Regional Commissioners.
These people should be chosen for their:
commitment to human rights principles.
National Commissioners have the overall responsibility for executing the mandate of the Commission. There will be 5-7 National Commissioners, all Timorese with the possibility of one international Commissioner. At least 30 % must be women.
Regional Commissioners will mostly be responsible for the community reconciliation process. You can nominate persons, in your district, whom you think is respected and can be fair. There will be 25-30 Regional Commissioners. At least 30 % must be women.
In the month of October 2001, a Selection Panel, made up of men and women representing a broad-spectrum of East Timorese society, will conduct consultations in each district to hear nominations for National and Regional Commissioners. You can nominate persons during these consultations. Alternately, you or your organization may send a letter of nomination to the Selection Panel. The Selection Panel will also consult with representatives of East Timorese people who are still in West Timor.
You can contact the Selection Panel through the Interim Office for the Commission at: the old BPG, ex-CNRT complex, Jln Caikoli, Balide, Dili
Telephone: mobile 0407 394 957; 312210 ext 4513; or through UNTAETís Human Rights Officers in the Districts.
Email us at: email@example.com