BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
At midnight this Wednesday, the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) will hand over to the newly-created Civil Judiciary of East Timor 36 cases of people detained by INTERFET for serious crimes. About two-thirds of these cases involve militia activity.
United Nations Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello last Friday appointed 10 judges to the Civil Judiciary, who will begin functioning on Thursday of this week. Also on Thursday, the UN Civilian Police will assume the principal authority for arresting, detaining and investigating criminals.
One of the first cases to be taken up by the new Civil Judiciary could involve a man who was arrested today in Liquica by UN Police in connection with several murders committed in Liquica last April. The suspect has been identified as a member of a local militia group.
Tuesday, UN Police will begin exhuming a mass grave in Liquica. According to local sources, the site contains seven bodies from the April 1999 church massacre in Liquica and 11 bodies from the April 17 violence in Dili.