Subject: UN S-G Spokesperson on Bere transfer (2)

Excerpted from 

Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

5 November 2009

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General,


I was asked yesterday about our views concerning reports that Maternus Bere, who was indicted for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 1999 in what was then East Timor, has gone to Indonesia. The UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) says that it has no information on the circumstances of Bere’s return to Indonesia.

The United Nations position that there should be no impunity, especially for serious crimes, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, is well known. In the case of Maternus Bere, it is our position that Mr. Bere should be brought to justice. We have made this position clear on numerous occasions.

We have seen the media reports indicating that Maternus Bere was transferred to Indonesia late last week. We were not aware of this transfer and have yet to receive official confirmation that such a transfer took place. For us, any act that undermines the rule of law, particularly with respect to accountability for serious crimes, is deeply regrettable.

I'd like to recall that the Secretary-General expressed his hope in last month’s report to the Security Council that “the Governments of both Timor-Leste and Indonesia will ensure that Maternus Bere is brought to justice, taking into account the report of the Commission of Experts appointed in 2005”.


For reference, on the previous day (4 Nov.) the following exchange occurred during the noon press briefing:

Question: In Timor-Leste, a militia leader, Maternus Bere, who was indicted by a UN-supported court, has been taken out of Timor-Leste into Indonesia. They are wondering what the UN is thinking of this and did the UN try to give the court’s indictment, tried to stop it and what they think it means for the UN’s commitment.

Spokesperson: There was nothing the UN could do. We learned of the transfer in the same way everybody else did. We don't have any additional information on that. I have to get more information on it before I can give an opinion on it, or the Secretary-General's opinion on it.

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