Timor-Leste

The transition of troops from Interfet to UNTAET Peacekeeping Force started today in Baucau

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Posted
Originally published
Dili, 01 February 2000
First Transition From Interfet To UNTAET PKF

In a symbolic ceremony, Major-General Peter Cosgrove, Commander of Interfet, formally passed the command of the Sector East to General Jaime de los Santos, Force Commander of UNTAET Peacekeeping Force.

Sector East command has battalions from Thailand, Philippines and Republic of Korea, a total of about 2100 troops and covers the eastern part of the territory.

After the Interfet flag was lowered and UNTAET's was raised, General Cosgrove asked General De los Santos to accept the troops under his command. "I give them to him with pride. I do so with nostalgia and great honour," said Cosgrove.

"I accept full responsibility. [Although the foundation has been laid,] this is not a time to relax," De los Santos answered.

As the ceremony was completed, the soldiers exchanged their Interfet hats for the UN blue berets.

The planned hand-over process will be gradual, from east to west, and should be completed by 28th February.

The next transition will take place in Sector Central, with the Portuguese battalion taking over the command. After that, it will be Sector West, with the Australian battalion in command. The transition in the enclave of Oecussi, where the Jordanian battalion has already started the deployment, will be over by mid-February.

Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor

Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, on Monday sent the report of International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor for consideration to the Security Council, the General Assembly and the UN Commission on Human Rights.

In a letter attached to the report, the Secretary-General stressed the need to conduct further systematic investigations of the violations that took place in East Timor during the period from January 1999.

The SG stressed the importance of bringing justice to the people of East Timor and holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions. To do this, he intends " to strengthen the capacity of UNTAET to conduct such investigations and enhance collaboration between UNTAET and the Indonesian Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in East Timor (KPP-HAM)".

The Secretary-General also says he is encouraged by " the commitment shown by President Wahid to uphold the law an to fully support the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators through the national investigation process under way in Indonesia."

In its report, the International Commission of Inquiry concluded that there were " patterns of gross violations of human rights and breaches of humanitarian laws... patterns were also found relating to the involvement of the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the militias in the violations".

According to the report, the human rights violations include murder, rape, intimidation, terror, and destruction of property.

The report recommends rapid return of displaced persons; disarming of militias; investigation of the human rights violations, prosecution of perpetrators and reparations to the victims; it notes the special responsibility of the United Nations in dealing with the investigation of the abuses; it notes the need for human rights approach in future investigations; establishment of an international independent investigation and prosecution body and establishment of an international human rights tribunal.

In his letter, Secretary General asked the members of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider carefully the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry on East Timor and also consider further steps which should be taken.