A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

East Timor president declines 'offer' to succeed Arbour as UN rights chief

[JURIST] East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Friday declined what he described as an offer to become the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, despite having told parliament last week [AP report] that he had accepted the position. Ramos-Horta said he changed his mind because resigning from the presidency would force new elections to be held within 90 days, something he feared could destabilize the newly-formed country. The UN has made no official statement on the matter. Ramos-Horta, who won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize [Nobel Prize website], had been considered a leading candidate for the position since surviving an assassination attempt [JURIST report] in February. Current UNHCHR Louise Arbour [official profile; JURIST news archive] will be formally stepping down next week. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

Ramos-Horta is only the second president of East Timor and previously served as the country's first foreign minister. He was wounded in a February assassination attempt by anti-government rebels. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed during the attacks, while Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao [BBC profile] escaped unharmed. The National Parliament of East Timor [official website] subsequently declared a national state of emergency [AP report], prohibiting public gatherings and establishing a curfew. The parliament initially established the state of emergency for one month at the end of February, but extended it [JURIST reports] in late March, saying some parts of the country remained unstable following the assassination attempts.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.