Subject: UN urges Indon to conduct "systematic investigation'' of Timor atrocities

UN urges Indonesia to complete Timor rights probe

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, April 25 (Reuters) - The main U.N. human rights forum on Tuesday called on Indonesia to carry out a ``systematic investigation'' into violations in East Timor and bring to justice those responsible for atrocities.

In a statement adopted by consensus, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose 53 member states include Indonesia, urged Jakarta to set up a special human rights court to try suspects.

Indonesia's ambassador Hassan Wirajuda took the floor to acknowledge international concern and point to concrete steps his government had taken to conduct an across the board investigation into violations in East Timor.

Indonesia's parliament was about to adopt a law setting up a human rights court, he added.

European Union and U.S. delegates took the floor to express satisfaction with the text -- keeping up the pressure on Indonesia to investigate the violations.

The Commission text also expressed concern at militias intimidating the estimated 100,000 East Timorese refugees remaining in camps in West Timor and called for their ``safe and voluntary return.''

Anti-independence militias backed by Indonesian troops went on a spree of killing and destruction last September after East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to throw off Indonesian rule.


The chairman's statement, read out by Nepal's ambassador who chairs the annual six-week session in Geneva, welcomed ``general progress made and some concrete steps taken by the Indonesian government to investigate fully violations of human rights...and to bring those responsible to justice.''

An official national human rights inquiry implicated former armed forces chief Wiranto, five other generals and other senior officials in the bloodshed. Wiranto, who denies any wrongdoing, was suspended from his cabinet post as chief security minister in February pending further investigations.

The chairman's statement supported Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan to strengthen the capacity of the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor to conduct forensic investigations.

Indonesia's attorney-general said in Jakarta on Monday that he hoped to begin trials in May on last year's atrocities in East Timor, although no one has been formally charged.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights held an emergency session last September on East Timor and launched a U.N. commission of inquiry into the orgy of bloodshed.

The investigators carried out a nine-day probe last November and recommended last January that the United Nations set up an independent tribunal to prosecute those responsible for murders and rapes, including elements of Indonesia's army.

In February, the U.N. Security Council urged Indonesia to bring to justice those responsible for violations in East Timor but shied away from recommending or even mentioning an international tribunal.

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