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UN Envoy In Timor-Leste Calls For Unity

UN Envoy In Timor-Leste Calls For Unity; Pledges To Strengthen The Justice System

New York, Sep 19 2006 2:00PM

Urging all Timorese to work together in the wake of the deadly violence that flared up this year in the tiny South-East Asian country, the top United Nations envoy today pledged increased support for the fledgling judicial system, while the UN’s senior police officer in Timor-Leste called on everyone to help in the drive to collect illegal weapons.

“Believe in peace, and live and work in harmony with your neighbours. Don’t let distrust or fear divide your communities. Let us move forward, jointly, in developing this country. The process of justice may take time but eventually justice will prevail for all,” said Sukehiro Hasegawa, the Secretary-General’s Special Representativῥ.

Highlighting UN Development Programme (UNDP) efforts to strengthen the country’s judiciary, Mr. Hasegawa said that the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) would also provide legal personnel, in particular to help the national justice system process the increased case load following the unrest in April and May that led to 37 deaths.

“I welcome UNDP efforts to strengthen the justice system. UNMIT is making arrangements for up to three additional prosecutors to be deployed on a three-month basis in order to enable the national prosecution services to respond to the increased case load that resulted from the recent crisis,” he said in a press release from the ca῰ital Dili.

According to UNDP, the Council of Coordination (CoC) and UNDP already have in place two international appeals court judges, three district court judges, five prosecutors, and three public defenders – with support staff, including clerks and interpreters.

Also related to the country’s efforts to restore law and order, the top UN Police (UNPOL) officer in Timor Leste today urged all citizens to assist the Security Task Force in collecting illegal weapons, including telling the authorities if they know of anyone possessing such arms.

“It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to inform the international military forces or UNPOL (UN Police) about the location of illegal firearms as well as name everyone who is in the possession of illegal weapons,” said UN Police Commissioner Antero Lopes.

“It is not acceptable that police officers, who are mandated to protect the population, commit crimes against their own people. Each police officer has to abide by the rule of law and respect international human rights standards.”


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