Subject: NZGOV: letter from Goff on UN Experts Commission

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade - 1 FEB 2005

Maire Leadbeater Indonesia Human Rights Committee PO Box 68 419 AUCKLAND

Dear Maire Leadbeater

Thank you for your letter of 24 December 2004 regarding the justice process for Timor-Leste and conveying your concern to see progress in establishing the United Nations Commission of Experts.

As you know, the New Zealand Government has strongly argued for the need to bring to justice those responsible for the crimes in East Timor in 1999 in a manner consistent with the standards of international law. To this end, New Zealand fully supports the establishment of the United Nations Commission of Experts, and has been working closely with the UN Secretariat and other interested countries on this initiative. Although the Commission falls short of an international tribunal, it offers a realistic opportunity to assess the functioning of the judicial processes of both Indonesia and Timor-Leste in relation to the crimes of 1999, evaluate the extent to which justice has been served, and suggest possible ways forward.

There has been some delay in the announcement of the Commission of Experts. Events such as the recent elections in Indonesia and the tsunami disaster last month may have contributed to this delay, but the Commission of Experts will nonetheless go ahead and I expect that it will be announced by the United Nations Secretary-General in due course. As for the Truth and Friendship Commission proposed by the Indonesian and Timor-Leste governments, New Zealand's position is that while such an initiative may prove to be a valuable way of strengthening ties between the two countries, it should not pre-empt the international community's responsibility to hold to account the perpetrators of the crimes of 1999.

Yours sincerely


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand. Telephone: +64 4 470 6553, Facsimile: +64 4 495 8444

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