UNITED NATIONS TRANSITIONAL ADMINISTRATION IN EAST TIMOR
Dili, 28 November 2001
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY CHOOSES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DATE
The Constituent Assembly today approved a motion recommending that East Timor’s first presidential election be held in the first or second week of April 2002, and that the voting process be universal, direct, and secret.
The assembly also affirmed that the formal transfer of powers and sovereignty from the United Nations to democratically elected East Timorese institutions on 20 May 2002.
The recommendations were approved by 68 of the 88 assembly members. Two members voted against the proposals, and there were nine abstentions.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer, Carlos Valenzuela, addressed the assembly before today’s vote to outline the modalities the assembly would need to determine quickly so that the election can be organized within a short timeframe.
These modalities include the criteria for the registration of political parties and voter participation and the type of electoral system (simple or absolute majority) to be employed.
Valenzuela said the assembly would need
to determine these and other issues no later than 15 January in order that
the Independent Electoral Commission have sufficient time to organize the
process. Valenzuela recommended that a “simple majority” system be employed
so that no potential second round run off be necessary. Any run off would
likely coincide with East Timor’s 20 May independence.
XANANA GUSMÃO MEETS REFUGEES IN WEST TIMOR CAMP
East Timor independence leader Xanana Gusmão today held a “dialogue session” in Kupang, Indonesia, with some 500 East Timorese refugees living in West Timorese refugee camps.
The purpose of the meeting was to promote the process of reconciliation and encourage more refugees to return to East Timor. More than 50,000 East Timorese refugees are still living in West Timor.
Gusmão yesterday met UDAYANA Commander Brigadier General Willem da Costa and Bishop of Kupang Monsignor Petrus Tukang. The meetings were part of an ongoing effort to build closer ties with the Indonesian leadership in general and the West Timorese leadership in particular.
Gusmão’s visit to Kupang follows
an invitation extended by Governor Piet Tallo at a meeting held last month
at Salele, in East Timor’s Suai sub-district. Gusmão is expected
to return to Dili tomorrow.
RECONCILIATION COMMISSION DETAILS SHORTLIST CANDIDATES
The Selection Panel for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation today released brief descriptions of the 15 candidates on the shortlist to hold the seven posts of National Commissioners.
The shortlist is drawn from the more than 300 people nominated by communities from throughout East Timor. The panel said today it hoped to name the seven National Commissioners by 10 December and expected them to be appointed by SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello soon after.
The candidates include clergy and youth members, university teachers, human rights lawyers, pro-autonomy representatives, women’s activists, an UNTAET Human Rights staff member and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, among others.
The names and brief descriptions of the candidates are as follows:
Rev. Agustinho da Vasconselhos: Protestant parish priest in Dili.
Aleixo Ximenes: Currently active with the Church in Baucau. Former teacher in Baucau district; former President of Baucau District Parliament and former member of Provincial Parliament.
Alexandre Corte Real: Professional lawyer. Former court investigator for UNTAET. Former civil servant (development department) in Ainaro district.
Aniceto Guterres Lopes: Director of Human Rights NGO Yayasan Hak and professional lawyer. Former member of National Council of East Timor.
Antero Benedito da Silva: Acting Executive Director and board member of NGO Forum. Director of KSITL, a local NGO. Former student leader in Dili.
Cipriana Goncalves: Professional lawyer currently residing in Jakarta.
Florentino Sarmento: Director of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Kupang, West Timor. Former Director of ETADEP and representative of the Indonesian Human Rights Commission (KOMNASHAM) in Dili.
Jacinto Alves: Policy adviser, Interim Office of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor. Co-ordinator of Association of Ex-Political Prisoners.
José Ramos-Horta: Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, East Timor Second Transitional Government. Former Vice-President of CNRT.
Padre Jovito Araújo: Catholic Parish Priest in Dili.
Manuela Leong Pereira: Executive Director of women’s rights NGO FOKUPERS
Miguel Ati Bau: Co-ordinator of Watch Group for Humanitarian Aid in West Timor, Indonesia. Former member of Provincial Parliament; founder of LBH Trisula, legal aid organisation in Dili.
Olandina Caeiro: Businesswoman. Founder of women’s rights NGO ETWAVE; former member of Indonesian Commission on Elimination of Violence Against Women; former member of Provincial Parliament.
Pat Walsh: Executive Director, Interim Office of the Commission for Reception, Truth & Reconciliation in East Timor and UNTAET staff member.
The Selection Panel is inviting members of the public to inspect and comment on the shortlist by 4 December before it recommends its final choices to be appointed by Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello.
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.
Once installed, the National Commissioners will select 25-30 District Commissioners from among the 219 nominations received by the Selection Panel.
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