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As UN prepares to leave Timor, accountability as unclear as 'horizon scan'

Inner City Press - November 12, 2012

Matthew Russell Lee, United Nations – Timor Leste is called a rare UN success story, and it is slated to come off the agenda of the Security Council through the expiration of its mandate. But even on this, there are residual questions of impunity, not only for the killings in Santa Cruz in 1991, but also for the 1999 killings.

After an afternoon of largely self congratulatory speeches in the Security Council chamber – the Permanent Representatives of the US, UK, France and Germany weren't there, on which we'll have more later – Inner City Press asked the UN's acting Special Representative Finn Reske-Nielsen about Santa Cruz and the 61 cases from 1999 that will not be finished before the UN leaves.

He did not answer on Santa Cruz, and said follow through the 61 cases remained to be determined.

During the debate, UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham said that the UN "should keep the Council informed of any warning signs in this regard, perhaps through the reports of a Special Envoy, or through the horizon-scanning conducted by the Department of Political Affairs."

Since not all Security Council members during their presidencies schedule these "horizon scanning" briefings by DPA, Inner City Press asked Reske-Nielsen how the UN intends to monitor and report. He said that too remains to be determined.

Still, many insist this is the Council's rare success story, a graduation from the Security Council's agenda. One wag joked that when India came on to the Council, Nepal was taken off the agenda. And now with India about to leave the Council in less than two months, Timor Leste is coming. Many non-permanent members leave much less of a legacy of removal. Watch this site.