East Timor: UN disappointed with ‘light’ sentence for peacekeeper’s killer

East Timor: UN disappointed with ‘light’ sentence for peacekeeper’s killer

The head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today expressed his disappointment with a six-year sentence handed down by an Indonesian court to a militiaman convicted of murdering a UN peacekeeper.

Prosecutors had sought a 12-year sentence for Jacobus Bere, one of four suspects charged in the killing of New Zealand Pvt. Leonard Manning, who was tracking a group of armed militia on 24 July 2000 in Suai District, near the border of West Timor, Indonesia.

“The prosecution had asked for a 12-year sentence, and the verdict was half of that, so I can only be disappointed with this light sentence,” said Sergio Vieira de Mello, who is also UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for East Timor.

“The killing of a United Nations peacekeeper in cold blood should be considered a crime of severe gravity, and the sentence should reflect that,” he said. “We hope there will be an appeal which would result in the full sentence sought by the prosecution.”