Timor-Leste

UNTAET Daily Briefing 17 Mar 2000

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Dili, 17 March 2000
FORCE COMMANDER DENIES AGREEMENT WITH TNI

The Force Commander of the UNTAET Peacekeeping Force, Lt. General Jaime de los Santos, denied today media reports about his alleged commitment to three TNI proposals on future military relations between United Nations and Indonesian troops.

"I would like to rectify this. I never made any commitment. I told them [the Indonesians] that this is within the competence and jurisdiction of the highest leadership of UNTAET as well as the United Nations," De los Santos said.

In a meeting on 15 March, in Motaain, on the Indonesian side of the border, the TNI Commander Major General Kiki Syahnakri presented three proposals: the exchange of liaison officers, the creation of a joint observation post within the border, and a joint patrol of TNI and Peacekeeping Force.

In a briefing to the journalists in Dili, the Force Commander also said that the Peacekeeping Force has "the mandate, and the capable and professional personnel to resolutely pursuit and maintain this mission."

POLICE ASSISTANCE GROUP TO START OPERATING NEXT WEEK

The first group of 50 former East Timorese policemen, identified as candidates of the Police Assistance Group, was invited to Dili to start a three-day refreshment course on Monday.

The course will focus on explaining the concept of human rights, introduction to community policing and changes in the law applicable in East Timor since they served as policemen. International instructors will also provide them with training in first aid, handling of evidence, crime scene protection and note taking.

When the course is completed on Wednesday, this first group will return to their districts to be assigned to work alongside CivPol.

They will wear blue UN caps and, eventually, polo shirts in UN blue with "UN Police Assistance Group" written on the back and a UN logo with "Police Assistance Group" on the left side of their chest.

FIRST TIMORESE POLICE CADETS TO BE SELECTED ON MONDAY

A fitness test for some 100 top scoring candidates who applied to become members of the new Timorese Police Service will be held on Monday in the grounds of the Police Training College in Comoro, Dili.

The fitness test comes as part of the final stage of the selection process for the first class of 50 cadets of the College, which is to be formally opened on 27 March. The one hundred candidates were selected after a process that included distribution of some 16,000 applications. Around 12,200 were submitted, with over 3,000 being complete with all the details required. Some 25% of candidates with complete applications were women.

After the applications were submitted, 150 candidates were selected for the interviewing stage by choosing five top scoring female and five male candidates from each districts, which the twenty remaining candidates being the next top scoring candidates overall.

The training at the Police Training College will take three months, to be followed by three months of on-job training. The East Timor Police Service is to eventually number 3,000 policemen and women.

INTERNATIONAL JUDGES, PRISON WARDENS PLEDGED FOR EST TIMOR

Portugal and Germany have offered additional international judges and prosecutors to serve in East Timor courts as mentors to Timorese judges and prosecutors, but also to be appointed to districts courts as they start functioning.

Three international judges from Uganda, Burundi and Sweden are already serving as mentors to the East Timorese judges and prosecutors appointed to the Dili District Court. They are working side by side with their Timorese colleagues on a daily basis, helping to sort through the caseload and with preparations of the trials.

As a follow-up to last week's mission of two New Zealand prison experts, the New Zealand government offered five prison wardens to help operate prison facilities in East Timor and train East Timorese. There are 19 identified candidates among former Timorese prison staff who will be interviewed for possible employment as prison wardens.

TEAM TRAVELS TO PASSABE TO IDENTIFY MASSACRE VICTIMS

A team of 15 experts from the UNTAET Human Rights Division and CivPol arrived in Passabe, Oecussi, yesterday, to start interviewing the families of the victims of the Passabe massacre.

The experts will use laptops with digital pictures of the belongings and the clothes found with the bodies to help the families to identify their relatives. This identification work will continue with the families for the next five days. The investigators expect that their work will allow the accurate identification of 70 per cent of the victims.

Forty-six bodies and human remains were found in the exhumation in Passabe last February.

FOUR BODIES FROM LOSPALOS EXHUMATION IDENTIFIED

The autopsies of the four bodies exhumed in Lospalos last week revealed that the victims were all shot by a similar weapon and mutilated with same type of knife.

The bodies were identified as belonging to two seminarians, one journalist and one student of economics who were pulled out of a convoy going from Lospalos to Dili on September 25, and subsequently killed by the "Team Alpha" militia. Another four people were killed in this massacre, including two nuns.

The four exhumed bodies were to be returned to their families by the end of today.

BASKETBALLS, PENS, BLACKBOARD TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO EAST TIMOR'S SCHOOLS

A shipment of educational and recreational material and equipment arrived in East Timor to supplement UNICEF's education program. An Irish NGO "Concern" has received 1,000 volleyballs and nets, 1,000 soccer balls, 750 basketballs and rings, 384 pumps, 45,000 exercise books, 45,000 pens, 400 blackboards, 260 cartons of white and colored chalk, and 200 guitars. The items will be distributed in Covalima, Ermera, Ainaro and Aileu districts.