Subject: Age/E.Timor: UN forced to free confessed murders

The Age Tuesday 14 November 2000

UN forced to free confessed murders


United Nations police in this shattered town had been forced to free people who had confessed to rape and murder because of a lack of resources to pursue investigations, a senior UN official told a visiting Security Council mission yesterday.

"We've had to release criminals who've confessed to rape and murder," said Kenji Isezaki, the UN's administrator in charge of the Cova Lima district.

The three men were released because a lack of resources prevented a proper investigation.

The offences were committed in the violence that erupted after last year's vote for independence.

Mr Isezaki made the admission to a 21-strong delegation from the Security Council on a one-day visit to Suai, the scene of some of the worst violence.

The unfinished Suai cathedral was the scene of of the worst single militia atrocity in which as many as 200 unarmed men and women sheltering in the cathedral grounds were murdered by militia mobs.

The head of the UN delegation, Martin Andjaba from Namibia, told a small group of local people in Suai that he would do his best to ensure the return of all East Timorese refugees in West Timor.

"Right now they are suffering over there. They must come back," he told the gathering at Suai Cathedral.

And despite the UN admission that at least some of those involved in the violence had been freed, Mr Andjaba said those responsible for committing serious crimes should be brought to justice.

"Justice must be done, those who committed crimes must be brought to justice. It is the determination of the international community to ensure justice," he said.

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