Expected Council Action
The Council will pay close attention to developments as the runoff elections in Timor-Leste, scheduled for 8 May, approach. A statement is possible, particularly if the security situation deteriorates. The mandate of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) expires on 26 February 2008.
Key Recent Developments
Timor-Leste remains fragile, with an estimated 100,000 (about 12 percent of the population) internally displaced persons (IDPs) still living in camps. The Secretary-General’s report on 1 February noted that the IDP crisis is unlikely to be solved in the short run, especially “until the underlying causes of the situation of insecurity and political crisis are resolved, the potential for durable solutions will remain uncertain.” Weapons belonging to Timorese security forces are still missing, and frequent outbursts of violence continue, including among supporters of presidential candidates.
The first round of presidential elections was held on 9 April, observed by international monitors. There were complaints of irregularities, including one by the independent National Electoral Commission against the government’s technical electoral secretariat for large discrepancies between the number of votes cast and registered voters. Parliament leader Francisco Lu’olo Guterres and Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta, who obtained respectively 28 and 22 percent of the votes, will face each other in the May runoff.
On 22 February, the Council renewed UNMIT for 12 months and increased its police size by 140 ahead of the presidential elections, after a request by the Timorese leadership and recommendations of the Secretary-General. The renewal followed a 12 February open debate, when members stressed the need for long-term international commitment to support Timor-Leste and highlighted key issues of concern, including completion of the election timetable and accountability.
Accountability issues continue to loom large. Judicial proceedings into the April-May 2006 violence led to the conviction of former Interior Minister Rogério Lobato in early March. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado remains at large and there are concerns with the slow pace of implementing the recommendations of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry (ICI) on the 2006 violence.
The Timor-Indonesia Truth and Friendship Commission resumed hearings in March, including, inter alia, of former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie, Bishop Carlos Belo and militia leader Eurico Guterres. However, concerns with the potential for impunity continue despite the Commission’s work. The former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Ian Martin, may testify before the Commission in early May.
Longer-term issues include:
completing the election timetable and containing the potential for violence, especially during the parliamentary elections, which have yet to be scheduled;
addressing the future of the Australian-led military presence and UNMIT after the elections (The Secretary-General says about 600 UNMIT police could be phased out following the elections, but the pace would depend on a post-election assessment including progress with reconstituting the Timorese police);
reforming the Timorese police (by February, only 409 out of about 3,200 had completed UNMIT’s screening and training process, full reconstitution may take three to five years);
making progress with drafting the comprehensive review of the security sector, especially the relationship between police and military, and the development compact for Timor-Leste as envisaged in resolution 1704, which created UNMIT;
addressing shortfalls in UNMIT’s police and civilian component, particularly investigators on serious crimes committed in 1999; and
balancing the interplay between reconciliation and accountability for the 1999 and April-May 2006 violence.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Report of the Secretary-General|
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General|
|Atul Khare (India)|
|Size, Composition and Cost|
|25 August 2006 to present; mandate expires 26 February 2008.|