MINISTERS APPROVE TIMOR BECOMING WORLD BANK MEMBER
The Council of Ministers today approved a Ministry of Finance proposal paving the way for East Timor to become a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
The Council also approved a regulation on the new organizational structure of the Second Transitional Government following the 18 April appointment of a Secretary of State for Defence.
In addition, the Council approved a major Japanese assistance package totalling US$19.2 million that will be used to rehabilitate water sanitation facilities in Dili, Liquica, Lautem and Manatuto districts; the container parking lot at Dili Port; a river irrigation system in Manatuto; and the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of East Timor.
The Council also approved a proposal presented by the Ministry of Health on a National Project of Mental Health. The USAID-assisted project will increase the capacity of the Ministry to provide international-standard mental health services over the next three years.
On the Foreign Affairs sector, the Ministers approved a package including a recommendation that the following agreements signed by UNTAET/East Timor and Indonesia will be valid until new agreements are negotiated and signed:
LOLOTOE TRIAL BEGINS PHASE OF HEARING WITNESSES
- Provisional Agreement on the Movement of People and Goods between the enclave of Oecusse and other parts of East Timor, signed on 25 February 2002;
- Agreement on the Creation of the Joint Border Commission;
- Agreement on the Cooperation of Postal Services, signed on 25 February 2002.
- Agreement between UNTAET and the Republic of Indonesia on the repatriation of the Indonesian Rupiah by the Bank Payment Authority to the Bank of Indonesia valid until its new deadline on 8 June.
- Agreement between UNTAET and the Republic of Indonesia on the payment of the pensions for the former civil servants, police and military, signed on 10 July 2001.
A Special Panel for Serious Crimes in East Timor heard evidence today from the second of 35 prosecution witnesses in the Lolotoe Crimes Against Humanity trial.
Today’s session heard testimony from a man who described being arrested, beaten and detained in Lolotoe in the summer of 1999.
The Court began hearing evidence in the case in early February, but progress has since been interrupted due to factors including the listing of other Serious Crimes cases by the Court and the illness of one of the three judges in the Lolotoe case.
The three defendants in the Lolotoe case – KMP militia commanders José Cardoso Ferreira and João França da Silva and former Guda village chief Sabino Gouveia Leite – are accused of waging a campaign of deadly terror in the Lolotoe area of Bobonaro district during the months surrounding the 1999 Popular Consultation on the future of East Timor.
The two KMP commanders are accused of illegal imprisonment, murder, torture, rape, persecution and inhumane treatment of civilians in Lolotoe sub-district, near the border with West Timor, Indonesia. Gouveia Leite is accused of being an accomplice in the offences allegedly committed by the KMP and members of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).
The Lolotoe case is the second of 10 priority cases to be tried by the Special Panels, and the first Crimes Against Humanity case in East Timor to include charges of rape and charges against superiors based on the actions of their subordinates.
SRSG MEETS WITH NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS
SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello has accepted an invitation to preside over the swearing in on 15 May of Regional Commissioners for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.
Under the guidance of the Commission’s seven National Commissioners, the Regional Commissioners will direct the Commission’s community reconciliation processes and enquiries into human rights violations in East Timor from 1974-99.
The Commissioners will operate out of the Commission’s regional offices, which are being set up in Dili, Baucau, Suai, Maliana, Aileu and Oecussi districts.
Speaking after a meeting today between National Commissioners and the SRSG, Commission Chairman Ancieto Guterres Lopes said, “swearing in our Regional Commissioners is a very important step in the continuing development of the commission.”
The Commissioners and the SRSG also discussed issues such as legislative and reporting arrangements for the Commission – an independent authority established under a UNTAET regulation – after East Timor’s 20 May independence.
VETERANS TO AID UN POLICE AND PARADE ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
East Timor’s leadership and former commanders of East Timor guerilla force (Falintil) yesterday decided that youth and resistance veterans will assist the UN Police and the East Timor Police Service in providing security for the 19-20 May independence celebrations.
The decision was reached at a meeting held yesterday in Dili that was attended by President-elect Xanana Gusmão, Constituent Assembly Speaker Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres, Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, East Timorese Defense Force Commander Taur Matan Ruak, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Ramos-Horta.
The participants also decided that the flag of the Democratic Republic of East Timor to be raised at the ceremony marking the transfer of power will be handed from Falintil veterans to members of the newly formed East Timor Defense Force members.
It was also decided that members of the East Timor Defense Force, the East Timor Police Service, former combatants, veterans of the resistance, and war widows will participate in a parade held in central Dili on the morning of 20 May.
Finally, the participants of the meeting emphasized that the East Timor Defence Force commanded by Taur Matan Ruak is the only defence force in East Timor, thus the potential emergence of any other military group would be against the law.