Subject: RA: UN restricting atrocities probe to four cases

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts UN restricting atrocities probe to four cases

Source: Radio Australia, Melbourne, in English 1105 gmt 1 Nov 00

Excerpts from report by Radio Australia on 1st November

[Presenter Peter Mares] Investigators say they will drop inquiries into six of the 10 most serious atrocities committed in East Timor last year because they do not have the resources to continue, but the head of East Timor's Jesuit Refugee Service says the real problem is that the United Nations has got its priorities wrong. Fr Frank Brennan says the UN transitional authority in East Timor has starved investigators of funds, while seeking millions for a truth and reconciliation commission. Fr Brennan has just returned from Dili and spoke to reporters in Canberra today. Di Martin compiled this report...

[Martin] Suai residents say hundreds of East Timorese were slaughtered at the Catholic church by Indonesian military and their local militias after last year's vote for independence. The UN says it's more likely be scores dead, but no-one really knows and it will remain a mystery for the next few years unless the UN gives its special crimes unit more money.

[Brennan] And that basically because of the lack of prosecutors and the lack of translators it is only possible for the prosecutor office at this stage, over the next year or two, to pursue inquiries into these four key massacres.

[Martin] The atrocities still on the list are the April '99 Liquisa church massacre, killings at Mario Carrascalao's house and at the Maliana police station after the vote and the deaths of aid workers, including two nuns, after international forces arrived in September last year. Everything else will just have to wait.

Even though this news will incense East Timorese who are hungry for justice, Fr Brennan says the problem is not a lack of UN money but how that money is being allocated. The special crimes unit is operating under a dummy East Timorese government budget. The dummy government is known as the East Timor Transitional Administration, or ETTA.

[Brennan] So that, for example, while there is no money available to employ more than one and a half translators at the moment for the special prosecutions unit...

[Martin, interrupting] And that's paid out of the ETTA budget?

[Brennan] That's paid out of the ETTA budget. There is independent talk going on by the UN human rights section of attracting international government funds, 4m-6m dollars, to run a truth and reconciliation commission.

[Martin] Which comes under the general UN budget?

[Brennan] Which comes under the general UN budget and could employ up to 200 people.

[Martin] Now, what is the problem with the human rights part of the UN actually seeking that money? If there is a shortfall somewhere, does that prevent, for instance, a commission being funded to the cost of 4m-6m dollars?

[Brennan] I think there are two problems. One is, first of all, the question about the wisdom of trying to run a truth and reconciliation process before you have all parties at the table - because, bear in mind, you've still got 100,000 people in West Timor - also the wisdom about trying to run a truth and reconciliation process before you have an election. Because usually a truth and reconciliation process requires trade-offs between reconciliation and justice and those trade-offs are usually made by a government which has some democratic legitimacy...

November Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from