05 October 2008

UN Recommended prosecution of East Timor Defence Force Chief Taur Matan Ruak in 2006

ETLJB 05 October 2008 Dili - In the wake of the collapse of the rule of law in East Timor in 2006, the United Nations constituted a special commission of inquiry into the events surrounding the violence and made recommendations for the prosecution of numerous persons, including the Chief of the Falintil-East Timor Defence Force, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, Chief of Staff Tito da Costa Cristovao, aka Lere Anan Timor and Domingos Raul, aka Rate Laek Falur.

The UN COI Report is dated 2 October 2006.

The following are extracts from the Report of the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste. Numbers are paragraph numbers of the report.

134. F-FDTL weapons. The evidence relating to the unlawful movement, possession and use of F-FDTL weapons is described in paragraphs 95 and 96 and demonstrates that those weapons were distributed by and/or with the knowledge and approval of the following persons: Roque Rodrigues, Taur Matan Ruak, Tito da Costa Cristovao, aka Lere Anan Timor, Manuel Freitas, aka Mau Buti, and Domingos Raul, aka Rate Laek Falur. The Commission recommends that these persons be prosecuted for illegal weapons transfer.

147. The transfer of F-FDTL weapons is described in paragraphs 95 to 96 above. The Commission concludes that in arming civilians, the Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force acted without lawful authority and created a situation of significant potential danger. This danger was realized in the Mercado Lama incident described in paragraph 87.

Armed confrontation of 25 May between F-FDTL and PNTL

148. By 25 May the F-FDTL command considered that F-FDTL was subject to a campaign of attack by PNTL. They responded militarily. The armed confrontation on 25 May must be viewed against the background of a lack of coordination and communication between PNTL and F-FDTL. However, it is apparent also that limited steps were taken by the F-FDTL command to verify the extent of the threat posed or to use non-military channels to resolve the perceived threat. On 25 May the F-FDTL High Command did not attempt in the event to contact those in operational command of PNTL or to engage the Prime Minister or President in resolving the situation. The Commission is of the view that it was the duty of the Chief of the Defence Force to exhaust all avenues either to prevent or stop the confrontation with PNTL.

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