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Tuesday, 28 September 1999
Page: 9025


Senator HILL (Environment and Heritage) (3:08 PM) —I have some further information in relation to detainees in East Timor for Senator Cooney that I wanted to put on the record. I seek leave to incorporate the information in Hansard .

Leave granted.

The information read as follows—

DETENTION OF PERSONNEL IN EAST TIMOR

ISSUE:

SENATOR COONEY asked SENATOR HILL, representing the Prime Minister, on 27 September 1999:

The Indonesian army and Indonesian police are now withdrawing from East Timor. How will INTERFET deal with the people it detains there? What authority and what capacity does INTERFET have to hold detainees? Will anybody be responsible for keeping those suspected of perpetrating atrocities held secure until their position—that is, the detainees' position—is ultimately resolved, and who will determine what that position is to be?

TALKING POINTS:

. Persons apprehended by members of INTERFET are delivered to a Force Detention Centre, temporarily located at Dili airfield, to which the International Committee of the Red Cross is allowed full access. All detainees will be treated in accordance with fundamental humanitarian standards.

. INTERFET's detention authority is derived from United Nations Security Council Resolution 1264 and is necessary and incidental to the accomplishment of the mandate. It is not possible to restore peace and security in East Timor without having the power to detain persons who commit serious crimes or who obstruct the accomplishment of INTERFET's mission. INTERFET has established a Force Detention Centre in Dili which currently has a capacity to hold 15 detainees.

. INTERFET detention policy is predicated on the continued functioning of Indonesian law enforcement authorities in East Timor.

. Future arrangements for the administration of justice in East Timor have been raised with the United Nations. We await their detailed response.

Supplementary

. The Force Detention Centre has held a total of 43 people so far, including Pro-Independence and Militia.

. 37 have been released:

- 2 to Indonesian Police;

- 9 to Indonesian Armed Forces;

- 7 to UNAMET CIVPOL;

- 18 released under their own recognisance; and

- 1 has elected to stay of his own free will.

BACKGROUND

Under the mandate of UN security Council Resolution, INTERFET military personnel are authorised to apprehend any person who has committed, is committing or is about to commit a serious offence, and any person interfering with the accomplishment of the mission. "Serious offence" includes, but is not limited to:

. Murder

. Manslaughter

. Assault occasioning Grievous bodily harm

. Rape

. Possession of a weapon with intent to injure

. Carrying a weapon with criminal intent

. Causing explosions likely to endanger life or property

. Kidnapping, and

. Looting.

Department of Defence

28 September 1999