East Timor Law Journal - Exactly 6 years ago today, on 25 May 2006, at the height of what has become known as "The 2006 Crisis" in East Timor, a horrifying massacre of unarmed police officers, walking under the protection of the UN, took place right in front of the Justice Ministry in Kaikoli in the country's capital city of Dili.
This massacre was the dreadful culmination of the institutional conflict between the military and the police in East Timor, the seeds of which were planted by the incompetent and opprobrious administrators of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) under the leadership of the late Sergio de Mello and which was compounded by the manipulation of ethnic tensions by domestic vested political interests that lead to the deaths of dozens and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens who fled in yet another wave of terror that engulfed the community.
The perpetrators of this massacre were soldiers from the East Timor military, some of whom were brought to justice; some, who were behind the scenes of this and other terrorist events of that year, maintain prominent positions in East Timorese state organs notwithstanding that recommendations were made that they be prosecuted for the participation in the violence in 2006.
It behooves all of us to remember the police officers who were brutally murdered on that day and to hope that such events never again occur in East Timor.
Andrew Harrington wrote an analysis of this event in 2007 for publication on the East Timor Law Journal and we recommend this analysis to interested parties.