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East Timor: over 30 indictments handed down for serious crimes, UN reports

East Timor: over 30 indictments handed down for serious crimes, UN reports

East Timor's General Prosecutor has issued more than 30 indictments in cases involving major incidents of mass killings and forced deportation, according to the latest figures released by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Through its Serious Crimes Unit, the Office of the General Prosecutor is investigating and prosecuting crimes against humanity - including individual offences of murder, rape, torture and other offences - committed in the territory between 1 January and 25 October 1999, UNTAET said today in Dili.

So far, 33 indictments on serious crimes cases - 11 of which are crimes against humanity cases - have been issued concerning 83 alleged perpetrators. Twenty-one persons have already been tried and convicted.

Meanwhile, a senior Norwegian law enforcement official, Siri Frigaard, has taken over as the head of the Unit at a time when special consideration is being given to refugee returns, including former militia members who are suspected of committing acts of violence in 1999, UNTAET said. The Unit has recently reorganized itself so that prosecutors lead their investigations in the districts in order to address requests for investigations from local communities.

Mrs. Frigaard, who has taken leave from her position as Director for the Regional Public Prosecutor's Office of Oslo, will also fill the post of Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes. She previously served as special legal adviser to the General Prosecutor of Albania and has represented Norway in the Baltic Sea Cooperation concerning international legal aid.