UN investigators exhume more bodies in East Timor

UN investigators today exhumed two more bodies from newly discovered grave sites in East Timor, the spokesman for the Secretary-General said in New York. The UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) is next Tuesday planning to begin excavating a total of 19 grave sites found in Liquica, west of the capital, Dili, he added.
In the last seven weeks, nearly 70 bodies have been recovered in the region, believed to be the victims of the Liquica church massacre in April, the spokesman said, as well as of the violence which followed the August referendum on independence.

UNTAET expects the excavations to last for about three weeks, and the International Force in East Timor is helping to exhume bodies.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Major-General Jaime de los Santos of the Philippines as UNTAET Force Commander, according to another announcement by his spokesman in New York. General de los Santos is being promoted to Lieutenant-General for the purpose of the assignment.

The Secretary-General is also appointing Major-General Michael Geoffrey Smith of Australia as Deputy Force Commander, the spokesman added.

The two are expected to arrive in the territory in mid-January.

Also today, the Transitional Administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, signed a regulation establishing an Official Gazette for East Timor, the spokesman said.