Subject: SMH: UN Scorn at Jakarta Justice for Timor

Also: Senior U.N. official fears Indonesian human rights commission will not work

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, February 2, 2000

UN scorn at Jakarta justice for Timor

By MARK RILEY, Herald Correspondent in New York

The head of the United Nations' human rights probe into East Timor has called for a South African-style truth and reconciliation commission to investigate claims of Indonesian-backed atrocities in the territory.

The inquiry head, Ms Sonia Picado, said she had no faith in the ability of a planned Indonesian tribunal to deliver justice to the East Timorese people.

She has also conceded there is little prospect of the UN Security Council supporting an international war crimes tribunal.

Instead, Ms Picado said she hoped the Australian Government would take a lead in igniting international pressure for a truth and reconciliation commission as the only acceptable solution.

Ms Picado, the leader of Costa Rica's opposition Social Democrat Party, made the comments in an interview with the Herald on Monday, shortly after her inquiry's report was released at the UN's New York headquarters.

"It seems to me that, no matter how hard the Indonesians try, it is just not feasible for them to create a tribunal out of the blue and bring their own generals to justice," she said. "Justice and reconciliation were the words we heard most often in East Timor, and East Timor deserves not to be forgotten."

Her remarks came as the former Indonesian military chief, General Wiranto, defiantly ignored calls for his resignation in the wake of a government report blaming him and other top officers for last year's terror campaign.

Ms Picado said the truth and reconciliation commission should be based on the South African model, comprising commissioners from East Timor, Indonesia and UN-appointed members, with powers to indict or pardon those accused.

The hearings could either be conducted on the border between East Timor and Indonesian-controlled West Timor, or in Darwin if the commission decided it would be better placed on neutral ground.

Ms Picado said she had discussed the option of the commission in meetings with the Indonesian Defence Minister, Mr Juwono Sudarsono, the Foreign Minister, Mr Alwi Shihab, and the Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman.

"Their response was quite good - surprisingly good," she said. "Even the members of their own commission of inquiry into East Timor were in favour of it."

The report of Ms Picado's preliminary human rights inquiry directly accuses the Indonesian Army of orchestrating the "intimidation, terror, killings and other acts of violence" that surrounded the East Timorese self-determination process.

Although not naming those responsible, it accuses Kopassus, the Indonesian Army intelligence were involved in "acts of intimidation and terror".

The report, based on interviews with 170 people in East Timor, details a host of mass killings, rapes and beatings said to have been committed by militia and Indonesian Army members.

It details systematic attempts to destroy evidence that could later implicate Indonesian generals in the carnage, and provides evidence of an orchestrated campaign to forcibly transfer more than 200,000 East Timorese to Indonesian soil in West Timor.

Ms Picado said there were serious flaws in Indonesia's plans to establish its own tribunal. The law underpinning such inquiries did not allow retrospective inquiries, which meant none of the major incidents that occurred before the Indonesian commission of inquiry began on October 8, 1999, could be investigated.

As well, East Timorese people remained scared of the Indonesian authorities and most were reluctant to travel to Jakarta to give evidence to a Government tribunal.

"How can they expect the military courts in Indonesia to bring justice to the people of East Timor?" Ms Picado said.

"You cannot have one-sided justice in human rights cases. The East Timorese deserve compensation - moral and material compensation - because their families and their country have been devastated.

"I think the United Nations has to give that to them. It certainly cannot be provided through an Indonesian tribunal."

Ms Picado said she hoped the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, would recommend to the Security Council the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission.

However, she believed such a recommendation would only come if countries such as Australia were prepared to take the lead in building political momentum for such a move. --- Deutsche Presse-Agentur February 3, 2000, Saturday, BC Cycle

Senior U.N. official fears Indonesian human rights commission will not work

Dili, East Timor - A senior United Nations Transitional Government in East Timor (UNTAET) on Thursday expressed fears that Indonesia's special human rights tribunal will never be set up, and that Indonesian generals responsible for the mayhem caused in the territory last year will never be brought to book.

Sidney Jones, the head of the human rights component of the UN Transitional Government in East Timor (UNTAET) told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Dili that, "I am worried that waiting for Indonesian justice to run its course may mean waiting for something to happen, that may never happen."

She also said that the U.N.'s chances of setting up a U.N.-sponsored international war crimes tribunal would have little chance of success due to China's opposition.

"China has said that she will oppose a UN Security Council resolution to set up an East Timor Tribunal other security council members are more worried about Indonesia's stability, so a UN tribunal is highly unlikely," she said.

Indonesia's attorney general earlier pledged to set up a special human rights tribunal.

Her statements follow a UN Commission on Human Rights report released earlier this week which stated, "The intimidation, terror, destruction of property, displacement and evacuation of people would not have been possible without the knowledge and approval of the top military command."

It also follows Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid's demand than the former Indonesian army chief General Wiranto resign from his post as political and security affairs minister.

The Indonesian government's commission of inquiry into violence in East Timor, known as KPP HAM, recommended on Monday that Wiranto and five top generals be formally investigated along with 27 others in connection with the violence in the wake of a U.N.-sponsored ballot in the former Portuguese colony last August.

Militias already in custody in Dili will be tried by the new courts that have just been set up by UNTAET as part of the East Timor's new legal system. dpa tf js


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