Subject: SMH: E.Timor notorious leader still free while UN deals with jailed militia

Sydney Morning Herald July 22, 2000

Notorious leader still free while UN deals with jailed militia

By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Dili

The United Nations mission in East Timor yesterday said it had no plans to arrest notorious pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres, who is implicated in human rights abuses committed about the time of last year's independence vote.

Guterres, the former commander of the Aitarak (Thorn) militia and a deputy commander of pro-integration forces responsible for many violent attacks last year, has told the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) he would like to return to the country.

A UNTAET spokesman said there was no judicial warrant against Guterres.

The UN spokesman said priority was directed to cases involving militia suspects already in detention, many of whom had been in custody for more than eight months. "Obviously, these [Aitarak] crimes are well known, and justice will be directed at some point but not at the moment.''

The UN Civilian Police (Civpol) is investigating serious crimes committed by pro-Jakarta militia. Asked if Civpol had an outstanding warrant for Guterres, a Civpol spokesman, Commissioner Antero Lopes, said: "To my knowledge, no."

Guterres, in Indonesian West Timor, is implicated in the murder of 12 Timorese during a militia attack in April last year on the Dili home of the pro-independence activist Mr Manuel Carrascalao, which left at least 12 killed including Mr Carrascalao's son.

Hours earlier at a rally outside the Governor's office in Dili, now UNTAET headquarters, Guterres had called on hundreds of his supporters to kill independence supporters.

Others in attendance included East Timor's Indonesian military chief, Colonel Tono Suratman, police chief Timbul Silaen and the then governor, Mr Abilio Soares.

On Wednesday, a Jakarta court postponed by one week a decision to continue a trial in West Timor of Guterres for illegal possession of firearms.

More than 40 militia members are in UN custody on charges of murder, multiple murder or rape.

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