10/13/2006, 00.00
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Commission findings about Dili violence causing concern

The findings of an international commission investigating violence that occurred in East Timor during April and May should be out within days. Analysts and the local Church fear violent reactions from the people. The bishop of Dili has called for peace and calm.

Dili (AsiaNews) – International analysts and the local Church are worried about possible reactions to the imminent publication of the findings of a commission investigating violence that occurred in East Timor during April and May. The Brussels-based International Crisis Groups said the content of the investigation was potentially "explosive". The prestigious think-tank yesterday urged the East Timorese president, Xanana Gusmao, to take the right measures in the interests of the nation.

The same concern was expressed by the bishop of Dili, Mgr Alberto Ricardo da Silva. Addressing a meeting with the press a week ago, he said: "We should place peace and calm in our hearts to see the outcome of the inquiry commission, because it will be a positive step toward truth and justice."

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry was set up in June at the request of then-foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta. The commission should have issued its findings already on 8 October but translations of the text into Indonesian, Portuguese and Tetum are still under way. The commission was given a mandate to establish who was responsible for the unrest that followed army protests against the controversial prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who was later forced to step down. Between April and May, clashes between army deserters and loyalists around Dili killed at least 21 people.

Mgr da Silva said the results would probably be painful for some leaders, institutions and civil society, but they had to be accepted as a way to rebuild human rights and justice in the country. The bishop launched an appeal: "I would like to ask all people to accept it without violence."

It is military circles that are cause for the most pressing concern. Fr Jose Soares of the diocese of Dili told UCA News: "I think the number one potential for violence is the military. If some of the military officials are named responsible, I hope they can accept the responsibility. If not they may launch a guerilla war which could endanger the nation."

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