|Subject: SCU UPDATE VI/03 25 June 2003
Please find the latest SCU update below.
Office of the Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes for Timor Leste
SERIOUS CRIMES UNIT UPDATE VI/03
25 June 2003
SCU: INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION
The Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) was established by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) following UN Security Council Resolution 1272 (1999). As mandated by the United Nations Security Council, the Serious Crimes Unit is responsible for conducting investigations and preparing indictments to assist in bringing to justice those responsible for serious crimes in East Timor in 1999.
In independent East Timor, the SCU works under the legal authority of the Prosecutor-General of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (RDTL). Dr. Longuinhos Monteiro is the Prosecutor-General of the RDTL. The Office of the Prosecutor-General is divided into two sections: Ordinary Crimes and the Serious Crimes Unit.
SCU is currently investigating and prosecuting cases of Crimes against Humanity, as well as individual offences of murder, rape, torture and other crimes committed in East Timor between 1 January and 25 October 1999.
The Serious Crimes Unit is headed by the Deputy General Prosecutor who reports functionally to the Prosecutor-General. The Deputy General Prosecutor is responsible for managing the investigations and prosecutions of the SCU.
SCU Prosecutor Mr Essa Faal is currently acting as Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes until a replacement Deputy General Prosecutor joins the mission.
The Unit currently has 114 staff members including of 41 UN International staff including prosecutors, case managers, investigators, forensic specialists and translators as well as 18 UN Police investigators and 40 UN national staff including translators and mortuary staff. In addition, 10 East Timorese trainee prosecutors, case managers, ITU and data coding staff as well as 5 East Timorese Police 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 Bobonaro, Viqueque, Aileu, Oecussi and Covalima
SCU Indictment Information
Since the work of SCU began, 62 indictments have been filed with the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court. In the indictments, there are charges filed against 264 indictees. (250 accused persons as 14 individuals appear on more than one indictment)
At present, 170 of those 250 (over 65%) accused persons indicted by SCU remain at large in the Republic of Indonesia. The accused include 28 Indonesian TNI Military Commanders and Officers, 3 Indonesian Chiefs of Police, 29 East Timorese TNI Officers and soldiers, the former Governor of East Timor and 4 former District Administrators. All are charged with Crimes against Humanity.
10 Priority Cases
In 2000, SCU initially identified 10 Priority Cases of Crimes Against Humanity. To date, 9 of the 10 priority case indictments have been issued charging a total of 137 accused persons with Crimes against Humanity.
At present, 122 of those 137 accused in the 9 priority indictments remain in Indonesia. Of the 15 accused in East Timor, 13 accused have been convicted at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes. The investigation in the final Priority case, the Maliana Police station attack is expected to be completed by July 2003.
Additional Crimes against Humanity Cases
To date, 35 of the 62 indictments filed charge for Crimes against Humanity including murder, rape, extermination, torture, persecution and deportation against 236 indictees (222 accused persons). These indictments include Crimes against Humanity cases such as the Atabae rape cases, the Maliana UNAMET killings, the killing of the Liurai King of Los Palos, the Mahidi militia indictment and an indictment filed on 9 April 2003 charging 5 East Timorese TNI soldiers with rape, torture and deportation as Crimes against Humanity.
SCU completed and issued the National indictment on 24 February 2003. The National indictment charges the former Indonesian Minister of Defence and Commander of the Armed Forces, 6 high-ranking Indonesian Military Commanders and the former Governor of East Timor with Crimes against Humanity for murder, deportation and persecution.
On 4 June 2003 two indictments were filed with the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court charging 1 Indonesian former Aitarak militia company commander and 2 East Timorese former Aitarak militia members with murder as a Crime against Humanity. The three accused are charged with the murder of an active campaigner for independence, Guido Alves Correia, at his home in Mascarinhas, Dili on 1 September 1999.
Two of the accused men, Beny Ludji and Jose Pereira are currently in detention in Timor Leste following their recent arrest in Timor Leste and are expected to stand trial before the Special Panel for Serious Crimes in the near future. The third accused, Jose Lopes da Cruz Mendonca, is believed to be in the Republic of Indonesia. This is the first time that an Indonesian national present in Timor Leste has been charged for crimes committed in 1999.
SCU and the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR)
SCU continues good working relations with the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR). The CAVR takes statements from deponents for the purpose of determining whether those deponents are suitable candidates for the Community Reconciliation process. These are passed onto SCU to be examined pursuant to the legislation creating CAVR.
SCU checks the statements received from the CAVR against its database of suspects who are believed to have participated in serious crimes in 1999. Over 650 deponent statements have been received from the CAVR to date; of these the SCU has exercised its exclusive jurisdiction in 46 cases. As part of the training of East Timorese prosecutors, SCU has allocated the role of liaison between the CAVR and SCU to an East Timorese trainee prosecutor.
Practical Training for SCU Forensic Assistants
At SCU, three East Timorese forensic assistants work with international forensic and crime scene specialists at the SCU forensic unit. They provide invaluable assistance with exhumations and post-mortem examinations for SCU investigations into cases from 1999 and ongoing National Police investigations cases. The forensic assistants joined the forensic unit with backgrounds in nursing and medical training and two of the assistants have worked at the forensic unit for over two years.
In May 2003, the three forensic assistants visited Northern Territory State Police forensic laboratories in Darwin for a training visit. The training was conducted by forensic specialists at the Police forensic laboratories in order for the SCU forensic assistants to understand the process of forensic analysis of physical evidence such as pieces of clothing, ballistics (such as bullets and shell-cases) and documents as well as other samples.
Currently, samples and exhibits recovered from human remains in East Timor are sent to the Darwin laboratories for forensic analysis to assist in the determination of the cause and manner of death. The results of such forensic tests conducted in Darwin are then used to assist in Police investigations in Timor Leste. It is essential that the forensic assistants fully understand the forensic process through such training initiatives to benefit future investigations into both past and future cases.
The forensic assistants agree that the training was very informative to see first-hand how the complete forensic process works in a fully-equipped laboratory. All three believe that having forensic facilities and qualified East Timorese forensic specialists is extremely important to the future of Timor Leste. One assistant was particularly impressed by the ballistic tests conducted at the forensic laboratories to identify the type of weapon possibly used in crimes. She believes that such forensic examinations are crucial in order to provide concrete evidence to support the prosecution of suspects in trials in Timor Leste.
At present, there are no qualified East Timorese forensic anthropologists or pathologists in Timor Leste. The specialized training in forensic pathology can take more than 10 years. All three SCU forensic assistants would like to qualify in these specialist areas to carry out forensic work for Government of Timor Leste in the future.
TRIALS AT THE SPECIAL PANELS FOR SERIOUS CRIMES
In 2000, 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 consist of two International Judges and one East Timorese Judge who hear cases of crimes against humanity and serious crimes from the 1999 period when accused persons are present in the jurisdiction of East Timor.
Since trials began in 2001, there have been 32 convictions including East Timorese TNI soldiers, East Timorese militia members and an East Timorese Falintil resistance fighter at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at Dili District Court.
In the Los Palos trial, 10 Team Alfa militia members were convicted in December 2001 for 13 murders, torture and the forcible transfer of civilian population in Lautem district between April and September 1999. The sentences ranged from four years to 33 years and four months. An eleventh suspect, the former second-in-command of the Indonesian Kopassus Special Forces in Lautem district, appeared on the indictment but is still at large. Appeals have been filed by both the prosecution and the defence. The Appeal Court has yet to hear the cases.
In the Lolotoe trial, on 5 April 2003, the Special Panel for Serious Crimes sentenced former Kaer Metin Merah Putih (KMMP) militia commander to 12 years imprisonment. Jose Cardoso Fereira (alias Mouzinho) was found guilty of crimes against humanity including murder and rape committed during 1999. This is the first conviction of rape as a Crime against Humanity by the Special Panel since trials began in East Timor. The conviction of Cardoso completes the trial of the three accused persons present in East Timor. In late 2002, two other accused persons pleaded guilty and received sentences of 3 and 5 years imprisonment.
Special Panel Conviction of Sakunar village militia commander
On 9 June 2003, a Special Panel of Judges in Dili District Court convicted Quelo Mauno (alias Agostinho Atolan) of one count of crimes against humanity (murder). The former Sakunar militia village commander was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. At a preliminary hearing on 22 May 2003, Mauno had pleaded guilty to the murder of Domingos Kolo in Nibin village in the Oecussi enclave of Timor Leste on 8 September 1999.
Conditional Release of BMP militia member from pre-trial detention
On 9 June 2003 the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court ordered the release with conditions of Abilio Mendes Correia from Liquica district. The former member of Liquica-based Besi Merah Putih militia group had been in detention for more than two years following the postponement of his trial. The indictment charges the accused with Crimes Against Humanity on three counts of murder, torture and the commission of inhumane acts in Liquica District between April and September 1999. Correia is expected to stand trial in the coming months.
Future Trials at the Special Panels
On 30 June 2003, the Same trial is scheduled to commence at the Special Panels for Serious Crimes. Two commanders and two members of the Ablai militia group from Same subdistrict of Manufahi district are accused of Crimes against Humanity. In the prosecution indictment the four accused are charged with a total of 22 counts of Crimes against Humanity including 11 counts of murder for the alleged killing of 7 independence supporters in Same subdistrict between April and September 1999.
The trial of Paulino de Jesus is scheduled to begin on 2 July 2003 before the Special Panels of Judges at Dili District Court. The Prosecution indictment charges the former East Timorese TNI (Indonesian military) soldier with the murder of Lucinda Saldanha and the attempted murder of Juvita Saldanha in Lourba village in Bobonaro district on 10 September 1999.
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