Subject: Lusa: Urging Consideration of War Crimes Court, Galbraith Bids Farewell

East Timor: Urging Consideration of War Crimes Court, Galbraith Bids Farewell

13 Jul-12:03

Peter Galbraith, the outgoing political affairs minister in Dili´s transition cabinet, bid East Timor farewell Friday, saying the United Nations administration had accomplished an "unique" task in preparing the territory for independence.

A former US ambassador to Croatia, Galbraith also told a farewell news conference that, if Indonesia did not act to try human rights crimes committed in East Timor during the 1999 independence plebiscite, the UN should set up an international tribunal.

"I am leaving a ministerial portfolio, which is without doubt, unique in world history", Galbraith said.

"This UN mission is unique because never before had the whole world united to build a country from nothing. We are doing this without a map or plans, so we may all feel honored in what we achieved together during the past 20 months", he said of the joint UN- East Timorese transition cabinet.

He listed three "successes" during his mission - the conclusion of negotiations with Australia over the Timor Gap oil and natural gas offshore fields, creation of "the architecture of transition" to independence, and the building of links between Dili and Jakarta.

On the later, Galbraith acknowledged "some frustration during recent months" because "little of concrete has been achieved".

"Many (Jakarta) commitments have not been kept and I hope that after the normalization of the situation in Indonesia these commitments will be fulfilled", he said, referring to political unrest and uncertainty surrounding Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid.

If Jakarta demonstrates no "progress" in bringing to justice security, militia and civilian officials responsible for atrocities in East Timor, Galbraith urged the setting up of "an international war crimes court", an option the UN has left open.

SAS -Lusa-

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