Subject: East Timor Press Review, 28 November 2002
East Timor Press Review Dili, 28 November 2002
President asks for dismissal of Minister of Internal Administration Timorese President Xanana Gusmão request the resignation of Minister of Internal Affairs, Rogerio Lobato on Wednesday, accusing him of “incompetence” and “negligence”. “ If independence is only Fretilin’s I don’t have anything to comment. If independence is to all of us, all Timorese, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the government the resignation of the Internal Administration Minister, Mr. Rogerio Lobato, for incompetence and negligence”. Xanana Gusmão was speaking in front of the government building in Dili at the start of the official commemorations of 27 years of the unilateral independence proclamation of Timor-Leste by Fretilin. In a live interview with Radio Timor Leste (RTL) Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri said, “ the minister is not present in the country. He called me yesterday to inform that he comes back next week. He is currently seeking medical assistance due his illness but I will inform him when he arrives but I think he will know before hand.” The Prime Minister added: “This is the government problem and I don’t see any changes in the government.” Alkatiri stressed that latest incidents in the country cannot be blamed only on one person because they show problems accumulated during the past 24 years with the armed forces or the clandestine movements. “It is the police duties to maintain security and not FDTL. Police have the right to defend themselves, but it does not mean the use of excessive means. Measurement must be taken. The government will find out the reasons behind this entire problem. Whether it is a political or economic the government will have to address it”, he said in the interview. (Lusa, RTL)
Timorese leader unhappy with tribunal decision Indonesia's human rights court found a former East Timor militia leader guilty of crimes against humanity on Wednesday and sentenced him to 10 years in jail. But former militia chief Eurico Guterres, speaking to reporters after he was found guilty of gross rights violations and crimes against humanity during East Timor's 1999 independence vote, said he did not accept the decision. In declarations to the Portuguese news agency, Lusa, about the court decision Manuel Carrascalão, the Timorese leader stressed “totally discontent “ with the sentence, affirming that the former militia leader of Aitarak “should be hanged or executed”. “ I strongly lament that a criminal like these has not been executed or hanged. At least killed. They killed innocents who have not done anything wrong” he said. “ Those misfortunes like my 16-year-old son and other 17 refugees that have not done anything wrong to anyone. He cannot be pardoned. He should be hanged or executed”. (Reuters, Lusa)
Portugal and Timor-Leste: Defense Commission According to a statement issued by Portuguese Council of Ministers, cited by Lusa, Portugal and Timor-Leste will establish a defense bilateral commission on military cooperation . The agreement signed last May must be ratified by the Assembly and includes training and expert advisory with the aim of “strengthening the military cooperation by the two states and friendship ties between the two people”. (Lusa)
UNMISET launched investigation UNMISET announced Wednesday that it has launched a formal investigation into the death earlier today of a 27-year-old Baucau resident, Calisto Belo Soares, who was critically injured by gunfire on Monday during a violent demonstration outside the headquarters of the Timor-Leste Police Service in Baucau, Timor-Leste's second largest town. During the confrontation outside the police station, demonstrators attempted to storm the station and several police vehicles were badly damaged. A large number of warning shots were fired by national police. At least one firearm was also reportedly carried by demonstrators. The demonstration was called to protest the police response to an incident a few days earlier to a roadblock erected by villagers to collect an unofficial toll from passing vehicles. Police and villagers clashed, a policeman was seriously injured and his attacker also injured. The Monday morning violence was brought under control within hours and Baucau township has been calm since then. A PKF Platoon of some 30 Portuguese troops was dispatched from Dili to Baucau on Monday to support the approximately 100 TLPS officers and 56 UN POL officers in the area. Today, a successful reconciliation meeting was held in Baucau between the community and the police with church and UNMISET Human Rights Unit representatives in attendance.The UNMISET investigation is looking into the causes of the violence and also the reasons an exceptionally large number of warning rounds appear to have been fired by the Timor-Leste Police Service. The investigation is being conducted by the United Nations Police (UNPOL) through its National Investigation Unit with the participation of UNMISET’s Human Rights Unit. Representatives of the Timor-Leste Police Service will also be participating. In speaking about the UNMISET investigation, UNPOL Police Commissioner Peter Miller said today, “It is designed to be as thorough and transparent as possible. We will leave no stone unturned to get at the truth.” The Commissioner encouraged all witnesses to the violence in Baucau to come forward and share as much information as possible. He said this was vital in order to establish the circumstances leading to Mr. Soares’s tragic death. Another investigation of the Baucau incident has been launched by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and includes Timor-Leste Public Administration officials and an UNPOL representative. Regarding the death of Calisto Soares: the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Sukehiro Hasegawa visited his family at the UN hospital today shortly after the young man died and offered his condolences.
SRSG on Belo’s resignation The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Kamalesh Sharma today praised Catholic Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo for his years of courage and commitment to the cause of human rights, and for his inspirational guidance to the people of Timor-Leste. Bishop Belo, who shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Jose Ramos-Horta, officially announced on 26 November that he was resigning his post of Apostolic Administrator of Dili, attributing his decision to health. Mr. Sharma said, “I am concerned to learn about Bishop Belo’s health condition,” and he wished the Bishop an early recovery. He also said that he hoped to meet with the Bishop later this week following Mr. Sharma's return from an official visit to Australia.
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