Subject: Ex Indonesian Ministers Quizzed Over Timor Atrocities

also: [BBC/Detik] Former Indonesian foreign minister says Timor not given independence option; and [IO] Alatas questioned on Timor carnage

Associated Press June 20, 2000

Ex Indonesian Security Min Quizzed Over Timor Atrocities

JAKARTA (AP)--A former security minister was questioned Tuesday about human rights violations in East Timor during the last days of Indonesian rule in the half-island territory, officials said.

Feisal Tanjung, who was also a former commander of the military, had been coordinating minister for defense and political affairs when the U.N. held a plebiscite last year that led to independence for the former Portuguese colony.

The result of the Aug. 30 vote triggered a wave of violence by anti-independence militia gangs backed by the Indonesian military.

Agus Takarbobir, a lawyer for Tanjung, said his client had been questioned as a witness by a state-appointed 79-member team investigating human rights abuses.

The attorney said the former minister maintained that Indonesian military officers in command in East Timor had been responsible for the security situation there and not officials in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.

Monday, the same group questioned former foreign minister Ali Alatas about events leading up to East Timor's breaking away.

The Indonesian government set up the investigative team earlier this year after an investigative commission said another former Indonesian military chief, Gen. Wiranto, and several other generals were implicated in the violence.

Wiranto and other senior officers have denied any wrongdoing.

The team is made of human activists, military officers, police, government officials and lawyers.

The findings eventually forced Wiranto to resign from the Cabinet of current President Abdurrahman Wahid.

About 250 people were killed and thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed during the militia rampage that ended when an Australian-led peacekeeping force arrived in September.

East Timor is now under temporary U.N. administration.

also: [IO]Alatas questioned on Timor carnage

BBC Worldwide Monitoring June 20, 2000 Source: 'Detik' web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 20 Jun 00

Former Indonesian foreign minister says Timor not given independence option

Jakarta: Former Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (Deplu) never offered the option of independence to East Timor. During the tripartite negotiations, Deplu was always reluctant to propose such an option and never once mentioned the word independence. Alatas suspects the option was put forward by former President Habibie.

This statement was made by Alatas after he underwent questioning for seven hours at the Attorney-General's Office on Monday (19th June) at Hasanudin Street in South Jakarta.

The former foreign minister was questioned as a witness in the case of human rights violations in East Timor by district attorneys Y. Merre and Hendarji from the TNI Indonesian National Military Forces Military Police Centre...

"We carefully chose our wording in the New York agreement. We were still reluctant to give independence to East Timor. It was not our right," said Alatas.

According to Alatas, East Timor was actually only given the choice of accepting or rejecting wider autonomy. There was never any mention of independence. If East Timor had rejected wider autonomy, the government was going to propose to the DPR House of Representatives or the MPR People's Consultative Assembly that East Timor be returned to its former status during 1976 as an area which was not yet self-governing.

"However, many felt that wide-ranging autonomy for five to ten years was too long. Habibie then came to the conclusion that this arrangement would require large amounts of money and thought it would be better to propose the option of independence," said Alatas.

Alatas claimed that during negotiations from October 1998 to January 1999, Portugal, anti-integrationists, foreign NGOs and foreign governments were all negative about wide-ranging autonomy suggesting it would not be acceptable to anti-integrationists.

Alatas also denied that Deplu did not do much to keep East Timor...

Alatas regretted Unamet's UN Mission in East Timor lack of perception while in East Timor. For example, in their recruitment of local staff there were deviations and fraud taking place during the ballot process. This was pointed out to the UN and there was a meeting to discuss Indonesia's complaints. However, the meeting concluded that these incidents had not affected the final result of the ballot.

"These results should have been announced to the community but it was not done by Unamet. Then we asked Jan Martin, head of Unamet, to give the information to the community but once Unamet decided to meet with the press, there were no longer any journalists," said Alatas.


Indonesian Observer June 20, 2000

Alatas questioned on Timor carnage

JAKARTA (IO) – Former foreign affairs minister Ali Alatas was questioned yesterday at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) over last year’s violence in East Timor case.

He was asked to explain the government’s policy which culminated in East Timor being given an independence option.

There is nothing new from Alatas’ testimony, except that he openly blamed former president B.J. Habibie who had made it possible for the territory to separate from Indonesia.

"This second option was hasty because at that time we were still negotiating the first option which had been discussed since early 1998," said Alatas after the questioning.

The second option was that Indonesia was ready to return East Timor’s status to the situation in 1975, before the region was integrated into Indonesia.

While the first option was that the Indonesia would give wide ranging autonomy.

He quoted Habibie as saying, why should we wait for 5 to 10 years if finally they want to separate from Indonesia.

But Alatas denied that Indonesia gave independence to East Timor during the tripartite negotiations among Indonesia, Portugal and the UN because, according to Alatas, Indonesia had no right to give independence to East Timor.

He told the press after the 9.5 hour questionings that the interrogators asked various questions including the implication of the May 5, 1998 negotiation which resulted in the August 30 plebiscite won by the pro-independence groups.

Alatas also said that he had warned that such a plebiscite would have a negative impact because there would be a rejection from those who lose in the plebiscite.

Meanwhile, Alatas’ lawyer, Muladi said that Alatas’ testimony will show that the decision in giving the second option to East Timor was decided at the national level and its possible consequences were well understood.

"From the testimony we can now see more clearly the extent to which former Defense and Security retired General Wiranto was involved," said Muladi, who is also a member of the National Defense Forces (TNI) Advocacy Team for East Timor case.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said that the human rights abuses case will be taken to court before August.

The joint investigating team established by the AGO has completed its interrogations of the former military officers who are allegedly responsible for the mass riots after the August 30 referendum.

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