Subject: Lusa News article: PM Gusmao confirms Bere
"transferred" from Dili Indonesian embassy "prison" to
Indonesia for treatment
Also Minister for Justice: "The Indonesian authorities of the transfer of Bere until after it was done": But the PNTL escorted him to the border.
PM Gusmao confirms Bere "transferred" from Dili Indonesian embassy "prison" to Indonesia for treatment.
MSO - Lusa - 03 November 2009
Dili The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, today justified the transfer of the former head of the militia from the Indonesian Embassy in Dili to Kupang, as being due to his deteriorating health.
Asked by reporters about the return of Maternus Bere to Indonesia on Thursday last, Xanana Gusmão said he was told by Justice Minister Lucia Lobato, the former militia would go on to Kupang for treatment.
"I was informed by the Justice Minister that the Embassy of Indonesia had announced that the health of Maternus Bere would no longer allow him to continue to stay there and that he had to go Kupang for treatment," said the prime minister of East Timor.
Xanana Gusmão was speaking at Nicolau Lobato Airport, where he was awaiting the return of President of the Republic, José Ramos-Horta, from South Korea, and referred further clarification on the subject to the Minister of Justice, who has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday.
Maternus Bere’s return to Indonesia was officially confirmed in Jakarta by Teuku Faizasyah, a spokesman from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Maternus arrived in Indonesia on Friday and was taken to a hospital with unspecified health problems, and because he has no pending charges against him in Indonesia, he is a free man after he has received his medical treatment," said Teuku Faizasyah.
At the end of September, in a statement to Lusa, the deputy head of the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Fernanda Guimaraes, had conceded the possibility of Maternus Bere being returned to be tried in Indonesia.
"It should first be the primary jurisdiction and that is with East Timor or Indonesia. In the event that primary jurisdiction fails, then the international community will think of other options, including an international tribunal," she said.
"If there is a trial that is considered fair in principle then everything is fine," she added.
Maternus Bere, former head of the Laksaur militia, returned to Indonesia last Thursday, after he was taken from the Indonesian Embassy in Dili, according to news agency Antara.
According to the Indonesian news agency, the return of Maternus Bere was made public by one of his children in Cupang and he is said to have traveled from Dili to Atambua on Thursday morning, having being escorted by the PNTL (National Police of Timor-Leste) to the border crossing at Mota Ain.
The former head of the Laksaur militia was arrested by authorities after having entered East Timor to attend the funeral of his father and sent to Becora Jail, where he was in custody awaiting trial by order of the District Court of Suai.
He has pending charges for his involvement in various crimes against humanity including murder, rape, deportation, kidnapping and torture in East Timor in September 1999, following the announcement of the result of the referendum.
On 30 August, the date of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the referendum, he was released from Becora prison by a political decision and delivered to the Indonesian Embassy.
Minister for Justice: "The Indonesian authorities of the transfer of Bere until after it was done": But the PNTL escorted him to the border.
Translation of Lusa article:
MSO - VM - Lusa - 04 November 2009
Dili - Justice Minister of Timor-Leste, Lucia Lobato, said today that the Indonesian embassy did not inform the Timorese authorities of the transfer of former militia Maternus Bere, accused of crimes against humanity, until after it had already taken place.
At a press conference, Lucia Lobato said she passed the information on to Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão that she had been notified by the Indonesian Embassy of this having occurred, without there having been prior authorization from the President, Government, or judicial bodies, for him to travel.
According to an Indonesian news agency, the return of Maternus Bere was made public by one of his children in Kupang who said he had traveled from Dili to Atambua on Thursday morning, after having been escorted by the PNTL (National Police of Timor-Leste) to the border at Mota Ain.
Asked about the news published by Antara, the minister said only that she did not wish to comment on media reports.
According to Lucia Lobato, Maternus Bere was taken Friday to Kupang in Indonesia, due to his health.
Speaking mostly in Tetum and with only meager explanations, Lucia Lobato answered several questions posed by journalists regarding the legality or otherwise of the handover to the Indonesians by referring to statements previously by the President, Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.
Speaking on the Bere case in an interview broadcast on 21 September by TVTL, Ramos-Horta said that the national interest can override legality.
Questioned regarding the legality of delivering Maternus Bere, indicted for crimes against humanity in the massacre of 1999 in the Suai Church, to the Indonesians, the head of state said that "not everything that is legal can support the national interest and the interest of the State.”
Ramos Horta said that as head of state, your first duty is to ensure the sovereignty and independence of East Timor and so having to cultivate good neighborly relations, particularly with Indonesia.
For its part, Xanana Gusmão took entire responsibility for the "transfer" of Bere from the Becora prison to the Indonesian Embassy on 30 August last, citing reasons of state.
The Head of Government also noted that if constitutional and legal principles were not complied with, it was because of the urgency imposed by the situation requiring a diplomatic solution that does not tolerate the delays, but that he did not intend to disrespect the law.
Xanana Gusmão noted that even the United States, in its approach to China, has given priority to economic relations rather than human rights, let alone East Timor, which has land border with the "giant" neighbor Indonesia, on whose trade it depends.
The former head Laksaur militia was arrested by authorities when he entered East Timor to attend the funeral of his father and is accused of being involved in various crimes against humanity including murder, rape, deportation, kidnapping and torture in East Timor In September 1999, after the announcement of the outcome of the referendum.
On 30 August, the day of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the popular consultation, he was released from Becora prison by political decision and delivered to the Embassy of Indonesia.