Red tape bungle after Ramos Horta shooting
Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin
September 12, 2008
RED tape delayed Australian soldiers pursuing rebels involved in the February 11 attacks on East Timor's top two political leaders, a confidential United Nations investigation has found.
Investigators also found that soldiers serving in the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) were among people "with no official function" who walked into the crime scene where President Jose Ramos Horta was shot, compromising physical evidence.
The report of a four-person investigation into the UN's response to the attacks said that "no one had the time to authorise and fill out the cumbersome ISF request form" even though its soldiers were asked to pursue the rebels who had fled into the hills above Dili.
"It is difficult to ascertain whether requests made at the operational level to ISF to pursue the perpetrators and to dispatch helicopters ever reached the appropriate level in the ISF chain of command," said the report, which the UN has not released.
Despite the requests to immediately pursue the rebels, the 1000-strong ISF did not receive an official letter asking it to hunt the men until February 13, two days after the attacks.
By then the rebels had travelled deep into East Timor's mountains, where they stayed until they surrendered in April.
The report reveals that by the time a 70-strong team of Australian Federal Police, most of them forensic scientists, started to arrive in Dili the day after the attacks, crime scenes had been hopelessly compromised.
At Mr Ramos Horta's house, Timorese soldiers were "wandering about the crime scene in an agitated state".
"At one point, the soldiers actually levelled their guns at UNPOL (UN police) officers and told them to leave," the report said. "Children reportedly walked up to UNPOL officers to give them shell casings," it said.
The report said key evidence, such as the mobile telephone of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and SIM cards, was stolen after he was shot dead at Mr Ramos Horta's house. "Other evidence was contaminated, such as shell cases flattened by passing road traffic," the report said.
Most of the AFP experts returned to Australia within days. Seven months after the attacks, a Timorese investigation into the events is at a critical impasse. Investigators have been waiting for examination by Australian experts of Reinado's phone, which was eventually recovered by Timorese soldiers.
One scenario gaining credibility is that Reinado was betrayed by his trusted lieutenant Gastao Salsinha and that Mr Ramos Horta was shot by an associate of a Jakarta gangster known as Hercules.
The Age revealed four days after the attacks that Mr Ramos Horta had promised Reinado an amnesty, which made it difficult to believe the official version that he had taken his men to Dili to kill or harm the President.
Mr Ramos Horta has confirmed it was not Marcelo Caetano, one of Reinado's men, who shot him, as had been widely reported.
sexta-feira, setembro 12, 2008
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 19:20
Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!
Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006
"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "