East Timor National Council endorses draft on truth commission

25 April 2001

The National Council of East Timor today endorsed a draft regulation on the establishment of a Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the human rights violations committed during the territory's 25-year struggle for independence.

The draft regulation gives the Commission a truth-telling function that will provide a historical record of past human rights violations between 25 April 1974 and 25 October 1999, according to the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). It also establishes a Community Reconciliation Process for dealing with less serious offences that will not be prosecuted by the justice system.

In other news, Manuel Gonsales Bere, former member of Dadurus Merah Putih militia, was sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday for the stabbing murder of independence supporter Joao Gonsalves during the campaign of violence that followed the 1999 popular consultation in East Timor. The sentence was handed down by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at the Dili District Court.

In a related development, the Office of the Prosecutor General filed today an indictment charging three members of the Saka Loromonu militia with murder and maltreatment during the post-referendum violence. Rueben Monteiro Gonsalves (alias Alu), Lino de Carvalho and Ruben Pereira Tavares are accused of the murder of independence supporter Sabino dos Santos in Bobonaro district in September 1999.

Mr. de Carvalho is currently detained in Becora prison in Dili on charges of beating three persons in Bobonaro district in April and May 1999. Mr. Gonsalves and Mr. Tavares are believed to be residing in West Timor, Indonesia.


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