Timor. According to
countryaah, the police force in East Timor, which was almost
disbanded during political unrest in 2006, began gradually
to regain control of the country during the year. The force
has very limited resources and the UN police who have
maintained the scheme in recent years remain for the time
being to provide advice and support.
In July, the trial of 37 people accused of involvement in
the 2008 assassination trial of President Jos谷 Ramos-Horta
began. Among the defendants were military as well as police
and civilians. At the start of the trial, the President
suggested that he might use his right to pardon at least
some of them.
The United Nations appoints Brazilian diplomat Sergio
Vieira de Melo as leader of the United Nations Transaction
Administration (UNTAET) in East Timor to oversee the
transition to independence. He is posted to the post in
December and quickly creates an advisory political council
with 15 members - including Gusmão. In February 2000,
Interfet assigned the military authority to the UNTAET
military forces. A large number of other UN countries are
adding troops to the force, which now gets Vieira as
The military situation is still very tense. Gusmão and
the CNRT have done much to create national reconciliation
and declare that the militants and their families who have
participated in the assault can return freely and without
danger to East Timor. Still, most militiamen remain in the
refugee camps in West Timor, where they have the camps under
their control and from where they carry out military
operations into East Timor. The UNTAET forces are therefore
almost daily attacked.
In March 2000, Indonesia and the UN agree that the
responsible violence in August and September 99 will be
brought to justice for their crimes. In late February, the
leaders of Aitarak - one of the pro-Indonesian militias -
meet with the responsible military and political leaders of
Falintil in Singapore. The meeting deals with the refugee
situation - which is still 140-150,000 in the refugee camps
in West Timor - and the reconciliation process.
In August, the UN evacuates its humanitarian staff from
the refugee camps after militants killed 3 of them in West
Timor. At the same time, the Red Cross office in Kupang,
West Timor, states that the organization is unable to
provide assistance to the 130,000 refugees in the camps due
to the terrorist attacks.
In addition to the security issues, the young state faces
other serious problems. UN Transitional Administration
UNTAET has helped to build a parallel economy in the
country, while at the same time destroying the social
situation, as UNTAET cannot provide employment for the many
thousands of unemployed in the cities.
During the August 2001 elections, FRETILIN received 57%
of the vote and thus 55 of the Parliament's 88 seats.
Parliament was to draft the country's new constitution and
would become the country's first parliament on independence
on May 20, 2002. In September 2001, Mari Alkatiri from
FRETILIN resigned as head of government.
In January 2002, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
was set up to investigate the abuse of Indonesian forces
during the 25 years of occupation of the country. In
Vieira's words, the Commission was to give the people an
"official ear" to listen to its accusations, acknowledge the
suffering of the past and open up a real opportunity for
reconciliation between victims and executioners. However, it
should not give amnesty to those who had committed murders
or rapes. Such cases had to be handed over to the ordinary
judiciary, to allow the criminals to prosecute. About
100-200,000 died during the first years of the occupation -
most of them hunger and disease.
That same month, Jakarta officially set up a human rights
tribunal to prosecute and convict officers and others for
the abuses committed in East Timor following the 1999
independence referendum. Indonesia had faced international
pressure to prosecute at least 18 officers and leaders of
paramilitary groups, who had encouraged the pro-Indonesian
militias to commit the aftermath of the referendum.