Subject: RT: ETimor police defend militia leader appointment
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 10:28:41 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Wednesday June 9, 1:46 am Eastern Time

ETimor police defend militia leader appointment

DILI, East Timor, June 9 (Reuters) - The head of the Indonesian police in East Timor defended on Wednesday the appointment of the commander of a pro-Jakarta militia as the head of civilian security in Dili.

Eurico Guterres, head of one of the militias which have been waging a war of intimidation against supporters of independence, has been appointed the city's head of Pam Swakarsa, a civilian defence force.

``Eurico Guterres can take his responsibilities in the context of Pam Swakarsa,'' police chief Colonel Timbul Silaen told reporters. ``According to our system Pam Swakarsa is a security system whereby people take responsibility for security in their own environment.''

Silaen said that he had not heard that Guterres had committed any crimes.

``I have not heard of Eurico Guterres conducting any cleanup operations, but if it does happen and laws have been violated, it should be reported to the police,'' he told a news conference.

Witnesses to a rally of Guterres' Aitarak (Thorn) militia in Dili on April 17 quoted him as telling his supporters to ``conduct a cleansing of all those who betrayed integration'' with Indonesia.

``Capture and kill if you need,'' he said.

Since January, when Indonesia abruptly reversed decades of adamant opposition to independence for East Timor, dozens of people have died as pro-Jakarta militias sought to impose their will in the territory.

The Indonesian police have responsibility for ensuring peace and security before and during a U.N.-organised ballot on independence for East Timor to be held on August 8.

The United Nations said on Wednesday that it was studying the document appointing Guterres as head of security.

Silaen also complained that the United Nations was passing on unfounded rumours to the police to investigate.

``Of the 80 cases we have received from the United Nations, there are only two that have proved to be correct,'' he said.

He called on the United Nations to tell the police the source of their information to ensure that a proper investigation can be carried out.

Many East Timorese are angry that the Indonesian authorities have been made responsible for security for the vote, accusing them of responsibility for the repression that led the deaths of as many as 200,000 people since Indonesia invaded in 1975.

Back to June Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99