Subject: ABC- UN to investigate Dili violence

ABC Online

AM - UN to investigate Dili violence

[This is the print version of story

AM - Thursday, 13 July , 2006 08:20:00

Reporter: Sarah Hawke

TONY EASTLEY: A United Nations Commission will next month begin investigations into the recent violence in Dili, which killed several people and destroyed scores of homes.

The commission was sought by the East Timorese Government, which admitted it wasn't in a position itself to undertake the inquiry, because various groups, such as the police, were implicated in the conflict.

Tomorrow, new Cabinet ministers will be sworn in, giving the Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta a working Government.

Sarah Hawke reports.

(sound of weapons handover)

SARAH HAWKE: One of Jose Ramos Horta's first tasks as Prime Minister was to witness the handover of weapons from a hit-squad, allegedly set up under the orders of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to kill political opponents.

(sound of brass and drums, and Jose Ramos Horta speaking)

In his speech at the handover in the town of Liquica, Mr Ramos Horta appealed to anyone else with weapons to hand them over.

It was another step in the process to restore law and order.

The other key step will be a United Nations Special Commission of Inquiry. This was requested by the Timorese Government, which realised it couldn't effectively examine what went wrong, given key groups like the police and military were caught up in the chaos.

The three-month inquiry recently agreed to by the UN will look at the most serious events, including the killing of 10 unarmed police in May.

UN Spokesman Bob Sullivan says the commission has been guaranteed access to all records.

BOB SULLIVAN: They've been asked to investigate the incidents of May and April, and they've also been asked to investigate the causes of those incidents.

SARAH HAWKE: What will be done with those conclusions? What action can be taken?

BOB SULLIVAN: There was actually a named person ... well, we're not sure if they will succeed in that, but the idea is to find out who did what, and why and where, and then make that public.

And they'll make recommendations to the Government here to what should be done.

SARAH HAWKE: The UN is already involved with investigations into the violence. It has staff at the office of East Timor's Prosecutor General, which is also looking at the allegations against Mari Alkatiri.

The new Deputy Prime Minister, Estanislau da Silva, says the UN inquiry's independence will be crucial in the process of rebuilding the military and police structures.

ESTANISLAU DA SILVA: This needs to be done according to the existent law, and then, of course, the regulation and discipline rules.

SARAH HAWKE: What's the next step in the process to restructure the police and military?

ESTANISLAU DA SILVA: This is what the Minister of Interior is doing at the moment, together with the Prime Minister and the President, and they'll look into ways how to restructure it.

And then of course they are seeking international advice, particularly from Australia and other international advisers on how to restore and then restart the policing activities in Dili.

TONY EASTLEY: East Timor's Deputy Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva.

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