Subject: KY: 1st Dili trial over E. Timor violence to start in June

1st trial over E. Timor violence to start in June

Kyodo News

DILI, East Timor , May 29 --

A Dili court will likely start in mid-June the trial of five pro-Jakarta militiamen charged with killing nine people last September in a rampage of violence that began after East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia, court sources said Monday.

It will be the first case over the violence that followed the U.N.-sponsored referendum on independence.

The trial is over the deaths of nine people, including two nuns and an Indonesian journalist working for a Japanese news organization. They were killed by pro-Jakarta militias near Lospalos on Sept. 25, on their way from Lospalos to Baucau by car after undertaking a mission of mercy to bring food to people in Lospalos.

They were killed by automatic rifles and machetes and their bodies were dumped in the river, the sources said.

The five accused, all members of the Lospalos-based pro-Indonesia militia organization Team Alpha, were captured by Falintil pro-independence guerrillas in late October and handed over to Interfet, the Australian-led international security force in East Timor .

The leader of the militia group is among them, the sources said.

The prosecution also indicated the names of five Indonesian army officers who allegedly ordered the militiamen to kill people from the Roman Catholic Church, an investigator said. They were not indicted, however.

The officers belonged to the army's elite Special Force (Kopassus), led by then Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto and the husband of a daughter of former Indonesian President Suharto.

The opening date of the trial has not been set, because the court might be made up of three foreign judges, a court source said.

However, a judge who declined to be named said, "The first court should be opened in the middle of June, because it usually takes about two weeks...after indictment."

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