Subject: Murder charge bolsters Interfet get-tough policy

UN relents on quit notice for Dili Lodge

The Australian 17 Dec 99

Murder charge bolsters Interfet get-tough policy


A LOW-RANKING worker with the East Timorese independence movement has been charged with murder following the death of a local man on the island of Atauro.

Victor Albez, from Dili, was arrested and charged by an Australian Federal Police investigator with the UN civilian police (CivPol) with the murder of Antonio Pacheco on Monday.

It is believed the two men had a dispute over a business deal that went wrong and not one related to pro-Indonesian militia activity or the August 30 ballot.

Mr Albez is the first worker or official of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) to be charged in East Timor and it sets an important precedent.

The arrest will bolster Interfet's get-tough policy. The Australian-led forces have threatened to jail anyone caught taking the law into their own hands, regardless of their political persuasion or affiliations.

The policy is being tested, with a rogue gang, led by former Falintil guerilla members, carrying out brutal revenge attacks in the border areas around Maliana. Interfet has sent reinforcements to the region as a show of force.

The murder charge is being discussed within the independence movement and has gone some way to dispelling notions that the UN forces were unable or unwilling to act against them.

CNRT representatives confirmed Mr Albez was a worker with the party. Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta, a key CNRT member, said yesterday that Mr Albez had held no positions within the party, but had been a worker prior to the militia rampage in the weeks after the ballot.

At a CNRT meeting in Dili, Mr Ramos Horta was told party officials on Atauro were attempting to launch an investigation into the affair and were waiting for a boat to be made available to bring them to the capital.

Mr Ramos Horta said it was quite proper that the party play no role in the affair, and that "even if he was a senior member, justice would still have to done".

"In terms of the justice system, it was decided CNRT would not have any involvement in setting up the judiciary or the courts, no political party should have any involvement," he said. "We will let justice take its course."

The Australian 16 Dec 99

UN relents on quit notice for Dili Lodge


SIGNS of a possible reprieve for the controversial Dili Lodge in Timor appeared yesterday, with the UN indicating an extension may be given to today's deadline for the hotel to leave its site.

Darwin multi-millionaire Wayne Thomas has been fighting the UN administration over his use of a former Indonesian army barracks for the lucrative hotel operation. He has said he will not leave, even under threat of eviction by Interfet troops.

The UN Transitional Ad- ministration in East Timor said yesterday negotiations were under way to find a "satisfactory solution" to the issue. A short extension of the deadline was possible to allow Mr Thomas to move to a new site if he could find one, a spokesman said.

"The deadline remains December 16. We do not have a set hour and we will not come barging in," he said.

"We are still open to all sorts of discussions trying to facilitate a more amiable solution. That could involve an extension of the deadline for a few days to accommodate the interests of Mr Thomas, so he can relocate his assets, and also to accommodate the interests of his staff."

But the deadline "will definitely not be extended for a period that goes into months", the UN spokesman warned.

Mr Thomas's Dili Lodge was issued with an eviction notice on December 6 because ownership of the land on which the hotel stands was under dispute and the lease he had obtained from the local Carrascalao family was held to be in abeyance.

All former Indonesian army land is deemed to be state property until land claims can be heard by the yet-to-be-established East Timorese court system.

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