Subject: Indon court unable to try killer of UN soldier

Indonesian Observer April 24, 2001

Court unable to try killer of UNPKF soldier

JAKARTA - The effort to try the suspect who allegedly killed a United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPKF) soldier, First Private Leonard William Manning of New Zealand, on July 24 last year in East Timor is facing several difficulties as disputes over the evidence are debated.

The UNPKF and United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) prosecutors' efforts to seek justice in the death of Private Manning, who was killed by a pro-Jakarta militiaman on July 24, 2000 in Kovalima district, East Timor, have been frustrated by several technicalities.

The Chairman of the Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) High Attorney,s Office Sudono Iswahyudi, stated that his office cannot proceed with the case as it is yet to receive the dossier on the suspect from the police.

Iswahyudi added that his office has replied to the letter sent by the UNTAET Attorney's office in January that inquired about the trial of the suspect which has yet to begin, since he was arrested in NTT province, Indonesia's neighboring region to East Timor, in October 2000.

In the letter that was sent on April 12, in addition to explaining his current predicament, Iswahyudi also explained the finer points of Indonesia‚'s judicial code of conduct to the United Nations' lawyers. He said that Indonesian courts cannot stage a trial if all the elements which are required have not been completed, including the evidence and witnesses.

First Private Leonard William Manning, was killed by a pro-Jakarta militiaman led by Jacobus Bere on July 24, 2000 in a UNPKF station that located near Fatumea village, in East Timor, less than 10 kilometers from the Indonesian border with East Timor. The militiaman reportedly cut the ear off of the 20 year old soldier, after stabbing him in the back and then stole his M-60 machine gun.

Manning and a small group of New Zealand peacekeepers were on a routine patrol in the forests near the border, where frequent militia incursions take place, when he inexplicably got separated from his platoon and was later found mutilated.

Bere was arrested by Indonesian police in Atambua, NTT in October 2000. He is currently being held at the Belu Police station in Atambua.

UNTAET had already asked Indonesia to try Jacobus Bere in Dili, East Timor as his crime actually took place within East Timor's jurisdiction. Despite that fact, Indonesia has strongly objected to UNTAET's demand, however no clear explanation was forthcoming as to why the Indonesian authorities insist on barring the UN from hearing the case.

Meanwhile, responding to the dispute, The chief of provincial police detectives Senior Commissioner THL Tobing, said that the police are experiencing a number of difficulties in producing Bere's dossier for the provincial attorney's office, because the police are claiming they do not have enough evidence.

over the dossier of Jacobus Bere's case to the High Attorney's Office in Kupang as we do not have sufficient evidence in the case," Tobing was quoted as saying by Antara yesterday.

The evidence, a firearm owned by Manning which was stolen from him by Jacobus Bere after he was killed has already been returned to UNPKF by the Indonesian local military commander Colonel Budi Heriyanto.

Heriyanto returned the stolen weapon to UNPKF Deputy Commander for South Sector Brig. Gen. Gillespie after an UNTAET request on November 7, 2000.

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