UN proposes committee to investigate fatal shooting of Indonesian soldier

UN proposes committee to investigate fatal shooting of Indonesian soldier

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) has proposed setting up a committee to fully review last month's shooting of an Indonesian soldier by New Zealand peacekeepers.

UNTAET's proposal to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry would establish an Ad Hoc Committee composed of representatives from the UN Peacekeeping Force and the Indonesian military to work out conclusions about the incident acceptable to both sides as well as agree on preventative measures for the future.

The UN peacekeeping force has also approved the formation of a Board of Inquiry following the initial fact-finding investigation carried out by UN military observers immediately after the incident, which took place on 28 July some four kilometres southwest of Tilomar in Suai District. The initial investigation concluded that the deceased man was an Indonesian army sergeant who was out of uniform but carrying a service rifle close to the border, contrary to orders from his superiors.

In other news, an interim office of the Truth, Reception and Reconciliation Commission was set up this week in Dili.

The office will initially be consulting with East Timor's civil society organizations in order to establish selection panels that will solicit views from the East Timorese community over who should become Commissioners.

The panel, which is expected to be established next week with 13 members, will consult with the community after the 30 August elections. The deputy head of UNTAET, Dennis McNamara, will lead the selection panel.

The Commission will establish a truth-seeking function looking into the pattern of human rights violations in East Timor committed within the context of the political conflicts from 1974 to 1999, and also create a community reconciliation body to facilitate agreements between local communities and the perpetrators of non-serious crimes and non-criminal acts committed over the same period.

The Commission will create a fast, community-based mechanism to deal with less serious crimes committed in 1999, thus freeing up East Timor's criminal justice system to concentrate its limited resources on those perpetrators responsible for the most serious crimes.