THE FIRST TRIAL INVOLVING CRIMES
AGAINST HUMANITY, KNOWN AS THE "LOS PALOS" CASE, FINALLY BEGAN IN EAST TIMOR

Wed, 18 Jul 2001 10:26:45 +0200
Send by: "YPKP' 65/66 - Netherlands"

Nizkor Int. Human Rights Team
Derechos Human Rights
Serpaj Europe
Information
11 Jul 01

9 July – Eleven defendants went on trial in Dili today for allegedly committing crimes against humanity during the pre- and post-ballot violence in 1999, the first such case to be prosecuted in United Nations administered East Timor.

The Prosecutor for the Special Panel for Serious Crimes, Stuart Alford, told the court the defendants were accused of 13 murders committed in four separate incidents as well as the attack and burning of a number of villages and the subsequent deportation of their inhabitants. All of the incidents took place between April and September 1999 in Lautem District, at the eastern end of the island.

The Special Panel was established by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed between January and October 1999.

The most notorious incident charged against the defendants occurred on 25 September, when a group of clergy, church workers, a journalist and a youth were ambushed and killed near the village of Verokoko.

Most of the 10 defendants present at today's hearing were members of the Team Alpha militia. The eleventh suspect, Syaful Anwar, was the second-in-command of the Indonesian military special forces (Kopassus) in Lautem and is still at large.

"Could anyone have participated in the actions of a militia group like Team Alpha without knowledge that such a group was committed to a campaign of violence against the population?" Mr. Alford asked. "These men knew, at the time, that the crimes they were committing were part of a wider campaign, not just by Team Alpha, not just in Lautem District, but in East Timor as a whole."

The defence was granted its motion to adjourn the trial until tomorrow so that the charges could be discussed with the defendants.

In other news, an assessment mission, led by the UN Security Coordination Office, arrived yesterday in West Timor for a week-long visit. The team will examine the security situation and make recommendations for the possible return of UN agencies, which had pulled out last year after the killings of three staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

[Source: United Nations Newservice - 09jul01]
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SERIOUS CRIMES PANEL AT THE DILI DISTRICT COURT: BACKGROUND INFORMATION.

The Serious Crimes Panel at the Dili District Court has the exclusive mandate to try people suspected of carrying out crimes surrounding the popular consultation on 30 August 1999. The Panel, which consists of one Timorese and three international Judges, can try cases of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Murder, Sexual Offences and Torture, carried out between 1 January and 25 October 1999. The Special Panel was set up in June last year and is part of the Department of Justice. Courts for ordinary crimes have been set up in Dili, Baucau and Oecussi.

The legal framework for dealing with serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law is to be found in Regulation 2000/15 on the Establishment of Panels with Exclusive Jurisdiction over Serious Criminal Offences and Regulation 2000/16 on the Organization of the Prosecution Service.

The Office of East Timor's Prosecutor General intends to investigate the major incidents of mass killings committed throughout the territory. Perpetrators at all levels, and in particular those answerable for the directed campaign of murder, persecution and deportation of the civilian population, will be held accountable for their crimes.

Serious Crimes investigators have concentrated on ten priority cases: the Liquiça Church massacre (6 April 1999); the murders at the house of Manuel Carrascalão (17 April 1999); the Maliana Police Station (2-8 September 1999); the Lospalos case (21 April-25 September 1999, see below), the Lolotoe case (2 May-16 September 1999, see below); the Suai Church massacre (6 September 1999); the attack on Bishop Belo's compound (6 September 1999); the Passabe and Makaleb massacres (September-October 1999); a second case in Lospalos (April-September 1999); and further sexual violence cases carried out in various districts (March-September 1999.)

Seven of the ten of the priority cases have been handed over from the Investigation Unit to the Prosecutor General: The Passabe and Makaleb case, the case in Lolotoe, the Liquiça Church massacre, the Carrascalão house attack, the Maliana Police station, the Los palos case and the cases of sexual crimes.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the Prosecutor General currently has 27 investigators, including three crime analysts, one pathologist, three forensic anthropologists and 11 interpreters. Three Investigators from the Civilian Police will join the Unit in June.

About 1,900 statements from witnesses, victims and suspects have been collected as of today, mainly into the 10 priority cases. The Unit has filed a total of 670 cases.

Some 60 people suspected of Serious Crimes are currently held in Becora (Dili) and Gleno (Ermera) prisons. To date, 44 persons have been indicted.

The first indictment containing charges of Crimes Against Humanity was filed on 11 December, by the Office of the Prosecutor General. The indictment accuses eleven persons of committing Crimes Against Humanity, including murder, torture, deportation and forcible transfer of civilian population in Lospalos, Lautem District, between 21 April and 25 September 1999. The group, which consists of members of the Team Alfa militia and an Indonesian Army Officer, is accused of committing at least 13 murders. Trial date has been set for 3 July.

The second indictment of Crime Against Humanity was filed on 6 February. Five persons, including an officer of the Indonesian Army, have been indicted suspected of murder, rape, torture, unlawful deprivation of liberty, inhumane and degrading treatment and persecution. The crimes were allegedly committed before and after the popular consultation in Lolotoe sub-district, Bobonaro district, by members of the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the Kaer Metin Merah Putih militia.

A third Crimes Against Humanity indictment is currently with the Dili District Court for approval. The crimes were allegedly committed in Liquiça district as part of a campaign of violence by members of the Indonesian Army (TNI) and the pro-autonomy militia group Besi Merah Putih (Red White Iron).

The Prosecutor General's Office is pursuing a policy aimed at also prosecuting low-level perpetrators, who have been taking part in criminal acts together with others in senior or command positions. A number of individual cases of murder and other offences that fall under the Serious Crimes mandate have been tried and are in the process of being tried at this writing. The first sentence in such a case was delivered on 25 January 2001. A former militia member, who admitted to a murder in Bobonaro district on 8 September 1999, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. A total of five accused have been convicted to date.

[Source: UNTAET Daily - 24 May 01]
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USEFUL LINKS:
-No immunity for crimes against humanity and the principle of command responsibility.
http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/chile/juicio/hc.html
- Judicial System Monitoring Programme.
http://www.jsmp.minihub.org/Resources.htm
- United Nations Transitional Administration In East Timor - UNTAET offcial web site.
http://www.un.org/peace/etimor/etimor.htm
- Special report on the preparation and development of General Augusto Pinochet's detention and Spanish judges' ruling recognizing the principle of universal criminal jurisdiction for domestic courts.
http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/chile/juicio/report.html
- The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (Avalon Project)
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/imt.htm#proc
- Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
http://www.un.org/icty/basic/statut/statute.htm
- Rome Statute of the ICC (as corrected by the procés-verbaux of 10 November 1998 and 12 July 1999)
http://www.igc.org/icc/html/icc19990712.html
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FIN DEL MENSAJE END OF MESAGGE EINDE BERICHT FIM DA MENSAGEM FINE DEL MESSAGGIO ENDE NACHRICHT FIN DEL MENSAJE END OF MESAGGE EINDE BERICHT FIM DA MENSAGEM FINE DEL MESSAGGIO ENDE NACHRICHT

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