10/17/2006, 00.00
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UN: E Timor's ex-PM should face probe

U.N. report is released today. An Independent Special Commission of Inquiry looked into unrest in April-May of this year. Former Prime Minister Alkatiri is thought to have known about illegal arming of civilians by the military and done nothing to stop it. Prosecution is recommended against former army officers and politicians. Security remains high is Dili for fear of protests.

Dili (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Further investigation is needed to determine whether former East Timor prime minister Mari Alkatiri should be prosecuted over the arming of civilians during a wave of violence in May, a U.N. report said on Tuesday. The report, prepared by a U.N.-appointed Independent Special Commission of Inquiry, said it found no evidence to recommend Alkatiri, who resigned under pressure in June, be prosecuted over illegal transfer of weapons from security forces to civilians. "Nevertheless, there is information before the Commission giving rise to suspicion that he knew about the illegal arming of civilians," said the report, issued on a U.N. Web site.

Security was tight in the capital ahead of the release of the report, with government offices closing early. However, there were no immediate reports of unrest after the document appeared.

Alkatiri, who heads the dominant Fretilin party in parliament, has been widely blamed for the violence which erupted after fighting within the armed forces spiralled into rioting, arson and looting in the streets of the capital, Dili. During the chaos, more than 20 people were killed and over 150,000 displaced from their homes.

Australia in late May led a force of over 3,000 foreign peacekeepers to end the fighting, which pitted ethnic gangs and East Timor's fledgling police and military against one another.

President Xanana Gusmao told reporters: "The parliament must quickly take political and legislative or legal actions based on the materials in the commission's report." The 79-page report made a number of recommendations for pursuing criminal cases related to the violence including prosecuting former interior minister Rogerio Lobato over the illegal arming of civilians, and rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado, who escaped from a Dili prison in August. It named a string of security forces members, rebel soldiers and civilians who should be prosecuted or investigated over some of the killings that occurred.

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See also
Ramos-Horta loses E Timor presidential election, Guterres and Ruak in runoff
Rebel soldiers hand in weapons but peace remains elusive
Coalition government for East Timor
Prime Minister Alkatiri resigns
President threatens to resign, country on edge


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