TEMPO SEMANAL 10 Years of UNPOL in Timor-Leste: a Failure.

Tempo Semanal

Dili, 24 November 2009

UNPOL then known as CivPOL first came to Timor-Leste to build Timorese
police institutions during the UNTAET period from late 1999 until 20 May
2002. UNPOL continued to have executive policing responsibility for
PNTL from 2002 until 20 May 2004. From 2004 it was responsible for
mentoring PNTL until the institution for which is was responsible
collapsed as a result of public disorder in April 2006.

>From May 2002 until May 2004 now SRSG, Atul Khare, was Special Assistant
and then Chief of Staff to the then SRSG for UNMISET Kamalesh Sharma.
>From May 2004 until May 2005 Mr. Khare was DSRSG for UNMISET with Mr.
Hasegawa as SRSG. As a result of his failures in 2006 Hasegawa was
replaced. In December 2006 Mr. Khare returned to Timor-Leste as the
third choice of the UN to be the SRSG of UNMIT. After Ian Martin of the
United Kingdom and Antonio Moreira of Cape Verde.

UNMIT costs approximately 200 million USD per year. UNPOL’s costs
represent the largest single fraction of that overall cost. Salaries,
vehicles, computers, rations, housing, helicopters, paper, pens, radios,
uniforms, shipping, medals, and more medals. What value has the
international community, the PNTL and the Timorese gotten for ten years
of this pricey police project?

Third stringer Mr. Khare along with UNPOL bears the greatest
responsibility for the UN to fail to build an effective and accountable
police institution in Timor-Leste. We all remember UN Police
Commissioners de Sousa, Miller, Peisley, Tor, and now Carillho. They
have all also contributed to the almost total failure of the UN to
properly establish and then reform, restructure and rebuild our national
police service the PNTL.

Many Timorese worry that the future holds more problems when it comes
to law and order in Timor-Leste. Factionalism is rampant with the PNTL
– perhaps even worse than it was before the Crisis, and likely as a
result of wrongdoers not being punished but in actual fact promoted.
Former PNTL commanders Martins, de Jesus and now Montiero either did not
inspire confidence, or have yet to do so. Timorese have little
confidence in the police – this is partially the fault of the Timorese –
but largely the fault of the United Nations. As they have been in charge
for 7.5 of the last ten years.

In a 2008/2009 an Asia Foundation survey found that those who sought
PNTL assistance “report being treated with minimal respect and
professionalism (47%), in a verbally abusive manner (15%), and in a
physically abusive manner (19%)”.

But lets revisit the UN role and that of the primary UN leader
responsible for building the PNTL over the past 10 years, and man who
has been intimately involved from May 2002 until May 2005 – and now
again from December 2006 until 11 December 2009 when Tempo Semanal
understands that he leaves Timor-Leste. Mr. Khare.

On 25 August 2006 the United Nations Security Council passed resolution
1704 in which it mandated UNMIT “to assist with the further training,
institutional development and strengthening of the PNTL”.

On 11 January 2008 UNPOL drafted a plan called the “PNTL ORGANIZATIONAL
STRATEGIC PLAN FOR REFORM, RESTRUCTURING AND REBUILDING”. It was never
produced in a language that PNTL could read.

In a 24 November 2009 telephone interview with Fransisco Guterres
Secretary of State for Security he said that this plan, “drafted in New
York, did not fit with the reality in Timor-Leste. They were trying to
copy the plan that was designed for Kosovo and other places, which do
not apply to the Timorese context. The UN Mission just wants to impose a
model which we disagree with”.

Reform: UNPOL have presided over a reform process which has seen no
reform. This is a clear fact. Timorese all know that 99% of the police
officers who committed crimes before, during and after the 2006 Crisis
remain in the PNTL – and in many cases have been promoted. This is
clear to all Timorese, it is a dinner table fact. Just as UNPOL are
never punished for their crimes, nor are PNTL officers. In March 2007
Mr. Khare wrote a letter to the Government complaining about the
promotion of Inspectors Delfim da Silva and Jorge Monteiro – as they had
failed to pass the integrity-screening process. Khare was ignored and
has remained mute on the subject since. Ignoring his UN Security
Council mandate. The Inspectors in question are now in positions of
power in the PNTL, along with, as we all know many many others in
similar situations.

Restructuring: In 2004 the then Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato,
with the permission of then Prime Minister Alkatiri, and the
acquiescence of the then DSRSG Khare armed a series of special police
units (the UPF, UIR and UPR) with hundreds of semi automatic police
rifles. This concerned many people at the time. These people had a
right to be afraid, as these weapons were then used extremely
irresponsibly in 2006. After the 2006 crisis virtually the whole
country was of the opinion that these weapons did not contribute to
building a “community oriented” police service, but were militarizing
the police – confusing the military and threatening the population.
Since 2006 the UN has done little if anything to try and convince the
police leadership to rid themselves of many of these weapons. Mr. Khare
has apparently never publically expressed a direct opinion in favour of
limiting these weapons. Perhaps Mr. Khare either agrees with the
policy, or is too scared to have a public opinion on the matter. Either
way we do not know as he does not speak of such things.

Tempo Semanal sources inform this newspaper that the current leadership
of the PNTL has been exploring further weapons purchases from armaments
suppliers in Java. Perhaps the same suppliers that the riot control
water cannon were procured from in April this year. Is this community
policing? What is Khare’s opinion? We do not know as he does not seem
to express opinions on these subjects. Preferring to remain mute until
he leaves. (as he did in the recent Bere case as well). Perhaps after
the next crisis for which he will bear responsibility for such as the
last one he will return as a highly paid SRSG once again?

Rebuild: The PNTL institution remains weak not only because of internal
factionalism caused by a failure to punish those who have committed
crimes but also because its facilities and support systems remain of
extremely poor quality. A recent Government / UNMIT assessment of PNTL
found that only, according to Tempo Semanal sources, a few districts
were ready for handover, despite 10 years of UN Police assistance. A
lack of working vehicles, communications systems, and other support
material are almost wholly lacking to most districts. UNMIT, UNPOL, and
Mr. Khare have failed to rebuild PNTL once again.

On 26 February 2009 in UN Security Council mandated UNMIT support “the
gradual resumption of policing responsibilities by the PNTL beginning in
2009 through a phased approach, while emphasizing that the PNTL must
meet the criteria mutually agreed between the Government of Timor-Leste
and UNMIT as set out in paragraph 21 of the report of the
Secretary-General to guarantee the PNTL’s readiness for the resumption
of such responsibilities in any given district or unit, and requests the
Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT to cooperate with each other to
implement the resumption process, and requests UNMIT to continue to
ensure, through the presence of UNMIT police component and the provision
of support to the PNTL, the maintenance of public security in
Timor-Leste, which includes interim law enforcement and public security
until the PNTL is fully reconstituted.”

Recent media reports quote Mr. Khare as saying that UNMIT UNPOL will
begin to downsize in 2010. But only 3 districts are ready in 2009?
Perhaps it does not matter, as he will not be here to bear
responsibility for the obvious failure to handover when districts are
without adequate cars and communications systems.

A senior source within UNMIT told Tempo Semanal in recent days that “he
feels UNMIT has largely failed in achieving its mandate, especially in
regard to the reform, restructure and rebuilding of the PNTL”.

David Ximenes, former Head of CNRT Clandestine network, and Secretary
of State for Veterans Affairs under the FRETILIN Government, and now
Member of Parliament and its Committee B for National Security, Defence
and Foreign Affairs told Tempo Semanal on 24 November 2009, “Mr. Khare
did not achieve the mandate given to him by the Security Council
Resolution 1704”. With regards to the reform, restructuring and
rebuilding of the PNTL Ximenes told Tempo Semanal that “he does not know
what they have done”. “From what I see UNMIT is not doing their work.”
He added that, “its just the same faces from last time”.

Tempo Semanal has obtained a copy of a recent confidential report
written for the UN titled “The UNPOL to PNTL ‘handover’ 2009: what
exactly is being handed over?” by the Conflict Prevention and Peace
Forum in New York dated 2 October 2009 written by respected PNTL scholar
Bu Wilson and Nelson Belo of Fundasaun Mahein a local NGO. In this
report they state that,

“Many leaders in Timor-Leste…have criticized the presence of
international … police. These criticisms have come from the Prime
Minister, the Secretary of State for Security and the Secretary of State
for Defence, the Chief of Staff of the F-FDTL, as well as the current
and former PNTL Commander General. These sentiments are also echoed by
opposition parties. Recent examples include a blog by the Secretary of
State for Defence, highly critical of UNMIT and UNPOL…. and a comment in
one of the daily newspapers by PNTL Commander General that translates as
“the majority of UNPOL lack capacity”.

This report concludes: “Although the situation in Timor-Leste is
currently calm and the ‘handover’ is proceeding without incident it can
not be concluded that the PNTL have been reformed in any meaningful way.
The handover of districts will become increasingly more difficult – as
more ‘problematic’ districts need to be considered. Given the poor
relationship between UNMIT/government of Timor-Leste and UNPOL/PNTL….
it is unlikely that delaying handover would have improved PNTL reform
prospects.”

Further the above report states that “It also appears that many of the
serious shortcomings of both UNPOL and PNTL, identified by [a] UN expert
policing mission in 2008, have not been addressed. The question needs to
be asked why these recommendations have not been heeded by the UNMIT
mission.” Tempo Semanal’s various sources suggest that Mr. Khare holds
ultimate responsibility on the ground for this failure.

Tempo Semanal sources say that Khare will be replaced by UN Mission
Sudan DSRSG Ameera Haq, and that he has a strong likelihood of becoming
SRSG of the UN Mission in Sudan. The President of Sudan is wanted for
war crimes, much like ex-militia Martenus Bere is. UNPOL, UNMIT, and
Khare let Bere go despite an executive mission. Sudanese no doubt will
find this of interest.

Adeus Khare, Bemvindo Haq.

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