UNTAET Daily Briefing 7 Feb 2000

Dili, 07 February 2000
Police Assistance Program

As part as the initiatives to improve law and order in East Timor, some 200 former Timorese police were identified as candidates to work alongside UNTAET CIVPOL in carrying out daily police duties.

They will undergo a selection process and the approved candidates will take a three-day training course from the 23rd to the 25th of February. The first group of 50 new recruits will be deployed around East Timor by the end of the month, while the entire group will be deployed by the end of April.

The Police Assistance Group is an interim arrangement. They are not members of CIVPOL neither of the future East Timorese Police Force.

They will not have powers to arrest, but will provide assistance and advise to the CIVPOL officers on aspects of the community structure and the local culture relevant to law and order enforcement.

They will also provide, with their experience, information on traditional patterns of criminal behavior.

The Police Assistance Group will be in place until the first recruits of the Police Academy of East Timor complete their course. The members of the Police Assistance Group will be eligible to apply for the new police force.

Law and Order

Three detainees from the Civilian detention center in Dili have been released on conditions by an investigating judge. In one case these conditions require the person released not to leave his home. In the other two cases the conditions are limited to reporting to the court when the trial starts.

Aside from this, two indictments are expected to be passed this week.

On the developments of the Court House, the Portuguese Government has sent engineers and workers to assess the necessary works for the reconstruction of the Dili Court Building. The refurbishing works are expected to start next week. At the same time, the government of the Australian Northern Territory is to send court furniture to equip the court in Dili. At present the transport arrangements are being finalized and it is expected that the furniture will arrive in the next two weeks.

Passabe Massacre

Today, a religious service was held at the morgue of the Human Rights Centre in Dili to the victims of the Passabe massacre. A catholic priest blessed the bodies that were brought to Dili on Sunday afternoon. He thanked those who are coming to East Timor to help rebuild it and highlighted their dedication to bring justice and peace to East Timor.

The number of bodies exhumed in Passabe (in the Oecussi enclave) totals 37. During the six-day exhumation, other nine sets of human remains were found. Two other bodies were located but couldn't be retrieved because they were buried in a quicksand. Eight other bodies were believed to be buried on West Timor.

In total, 46 bodies and human remains were at Dili's morgue for further exhumation to ascertain cause of death and hopefully identify the victims.

The complete exams of all the bodies are expected to last a month. Then, the bodies will be returned to the villages for burial.

Peacekeeping Force

The first batch of 250 troops from Portugal is expected to arrive in Dili on Wednesday, February 9.

During discussions held between the PeaceKeeping force Commander, Liuetenant General Jaime de Los Santos, and INTERFET Commander, Major General Peter Cosgrove, it was agreed that the handover ceremony from INTERFET to the Peacekeeping Force is going to be held on February,23rd at the SRSG's office.

Indonesian Humanitarian flight

An Indonesian military plane bringing humanitarian aid arrived today at Dili's airport. It brought medicine, food, clothes, soap, towels, books, notebooks and pencils. The assistance is provided by religious groups from Indonesia and organized by the Society for Inter-Religious Dialogue.

It has the support of the Office of the President of Indonesia who took the initiative to make the airforce plane available in advance of his planned trip to East Timor on the 24th of February.

The East Timorese counterparts of this initiative are the Christian Church of East Timor (GKTT) and two East Timorese NGOs: Yayasan Hak through its humanitarian branch Pospo Timor and Yayasan Hadomi.

First Political Prisoners Conference

The first political prisoners conference was held on Sunday in Dili. Some 800 people attended the conference. Sidney Jones, the Head of UNTAET's human rights Division represented UNTAET. Among the crowd, many former prisoners and their families.

Francisco Xavier Amaral, the first President of FRETELIN party, who was in exile and just came back, said that the fight is not over yet. "Independence doesn't mean that we are going to sit and watch. We have more to do to rebuild East Timor through liberation, justice and peace."

SRSG's Arrival

The Transitional Administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, will return to Dili tomorrow afternoon. For the first time, He will have his passaport stamped and luggage checked by the new Timorese Border Control Service. The SRSG left Dili on January,24. He had been to Kupang and Jakarta before going to Geneva on his way to New York for the Security Council meeting on East Timor.