Selected postings from east-timor (reg.easttimor)

Subject: Serious Crimes Unit Update 21 February 2003


21 February 2003 II/03


General Information

The Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) was established by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) following UN Security Council Resolution 1272. In independent East Timor, the Serious Crimes Unit is a section of the Office of the General Prosecutor as established under the constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL).

Mr. Longuinhos Monteiro is the General Prosecutor of the RDTL. The Office of the General Prosecutor is divided into two sections. The Serious Crimes Unit concentrates on crimes committed during the 1999 period. SCU is currently investigating and prosecuting cases of crimes against humanity in widespread or systematic attack against civilians as well as individual offences of murder, rape, torture and other crimes committed in East Timor between 1 January and 25 October 1999.

The Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes, Ms. Siri Frigaard, is responsible for managing the investigations and prosecutions of the SCU. The Unit currently has 110 staff members consisting of 42 UN international staff including prosecutors, investigators, forensic specialists, translators and supporting staff as well as 23 UN Police investigators and 45 UN national staff including forensic staff. In addition, 11 East Timorese trainee prosecutors, case managers, ITU and data coding staff as well as ETPS investigators work in teams with International UN staff at SCU.

The SCU is divided into teams including 4 Prosecution teams consisting of prosecutors, case managers and investigators. The Prosecution teams cover all 13 districts of East Timor with district investigation offices currently operating in Maliana, Oecussi, Suai and Aileu.

With the completion of investigations in the field and any required post-mortem examinations, SCU prosecutors and case managers prepare indictments which are filed by SCU prosecutors or the Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court. If accused persons are present in the jurisdiction of East Timor, trials will be scheduled at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court.

UNTAET set up Special Panels of Judges at Dili District Court to hear cases of serious crimes from the 1999 period. The Special Panels for Serious Crimes are ‘hybrid’ consisting of two UN International Judges and one East Timorese Judge to hear cases of serious crimes from the 1999 period.

Summary Information about Indictments issued by SCU

Since the work of the Serious Crimes Unit began, 49 indictments have been filed at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court. In the indictments, there are charges filed against 182 indictees; that is 170 accused persons as 12 individuals appear on more than one indictment issued by SCU.

To date, 23 of those 49 indictments filed are for charges of Crimes Against Humanity against 166 indictees (153 accused persons) for varying counts of Crimes Against Humanity including murder, rape, extermination, disappearance, torture, persecution and deportation. During 2002, SCU issued 11 major Crimes Against Humanity indictments including the TNI Battalion 745 case, the Atabai rape cases, the Maliana UNAMET killings and the Liurai of Lautem killing.

On 4 February 2003, SCU filed the Cailaco indictment with Crimes Against Humanity charges against 15 TNI members and 17 militia members. The indictment charges for murder, torture and persecution for incidents which occurred in March and April 1999 in the border district of Bobonaro. This is the biggest single indictment to have been issued by SCU with 4 Indonesian military officers and the Commander of East Timor Militia Forces amongst those charged.

At present, 98 of those 170 (60%) accused persons indicted by SCU remain at large in the Republic of Indonesia. This includes 12 Indonesian Military Officers, one Indonesian Police Chief and 23 East Timorese TNI members who are all charged with Crimes Against Humanity.

Priority Crimes Against Humanity Indictments

The Serious Crimes Unit initially identified ten priority cases of Crimes Against Humanity when investigations began in 2000. Additional investigations into widespread patterns of serious violence focus on those persons who had organised, ordered and aided in the planning and execution of the crimes.

To date, seven of the ten priority case indictments have been filed with the Special Panel for Serious Crimes which charge a total of 99 persons with Crimes Against Humanity:

· The Los Palos Case 21-25 Sept 1999 · The Lolotoe Case 2 May-16 Sept 1999 · The Liquica Church Massacre 6 April 1999 · The Attack on the House of Manuel Carrascalao 17 April 1999 · The Passabe and Makaleb Massacres Sept-Oct 1999 · TNI Battalion 745 September 1999 · The Cailaco Killings. March-April 1999

Priority case indictments are near completion in two of the three remaining priority cases: the Suai Church massacre, the September Attacks on Bishop Belo’s compound and the Dili Diocese. The investigation and indictment for the Maliana Police Station and September Killings will be completed by June 2003. ** TRIALS AT THE SPECIAL PANEL FOR SERIOUS CRIMES

Since trials began at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes in 2001, there have been convictions of 32 accused persons which have included East Timorese soldiers in the Indonesian military and militia commanders. In the Los Palos case which included the killing of three priests, two nuns and four other people in a militia ambush, 10 Team Alfa militia members were convicted with three defendants receiving maximum sentences of 33 years and 4 months for multiple crimes against humanity including murder, torture and deportation.

Ongoing Trials:

At present, one Special Panel is hearing cases and it is expected that a second Special Panel will resume trial work in future weeks.

Lolotoi Case (Bobonaro)

At present the trial in the Lolotoi case continues at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes. The 5 accused are charged with Crimes Against Humanity. Two of the accused are believed to be at large in Indonesia. Of the three accused on trial at the Special Panel, until now, two defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to 3 and 5 years. The third defendant, a militia commander from Lolotoi in Bobonaro district, is charged with Crimes Against Humanity including counts of murder, torture and rape remains on trial at the Special Panel.

Abilio Mendes Correia (Liquica)

The trial began in March 2002. After postponement of the trial, it is expected that the trial will resume following the completion of the Lolotoi case in early 2003. The accused is charged with Crimes Against Humanity on counts of murder, torture and inhumane acts

Lino de Carvalho (Batugade)

The trial commenced in March 2002 and was subsequently postponed. The trial is scheduled to resume in early 2003. The accused is charged with Crimes Against Humanity including one count of murder.

For information contact SCU at

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