Subject: Indonesian prosecutors to visit West and East Timor

Jakarta Post May 08, 2000

State prosecutors to visit West and East Timor

JAKARTA (JP): A team of state prosecutors investigating last year's violence in East Timor will visit the territory and the neighboring Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara sometime in the middle of this month, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said on Sunday.

"The visit will probably take place in mid-May or after May 15 and the team will go to Kupang and Atambua first," Marzuki told The Jakarta Post by phone.

Some 250,000 people were evacuated to East Nusa Tenggara following the violence that erupted after an overwhelming vote for independence in East Timor in August.

Over 100,000 East Timorese refugees are still seeking shelter in the province and harassment from prointegration militias is reportedly hampering efforts to return them to their home soil.

Marzuki said that during the visit, the team would "verify some information and reports". He did not elaborate, but said "there is no difficulty whatsoever" with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) with regard to the team's planned visit to the former Indonesian province.

Marzuki was referring to a 64-member team of investigators, which is led by Deputy Attorney General for General Crimes M. Rahman.

The team was set up last month to follow up on the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM) in East Timor

KPP HAM implicated earlier this year former Indonesian Military Gen. (ret) Wiranto and 32 other military and civilian officers in the East Timor violence.

Wiranto, who was suspended as coordinating minister for political affairs and security by President Abdurrahman Wahid pending the results of the investigation, has denied any wrongdoing.

The Attorney General's Office will have three months from April to report its findings, with the possibility of further three-month extensions.

Initially the investigation will focus on five cases which will be considered for prosecution.

They are: an April 17 attack on proindependence leader Manuel Carrascalao's house in Dili in which at least 12 people died; the Sept. 6 attack at the home of Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo; a massacre of refugees in a church in Liquica in April; a massacre in a church in Suai in September where at least 26 people died; and the killing of Financial Times correspondent Sander Thoenes in the East Dili area of Becora on Sept. 21.

Meanwhile, chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Djoko Soegianto called on Saturday for the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute those who were allegedly involved in the East Timor violence.

Human rights activists have said that an ad hoc tribunal for East Timor should be established as what happened in the territory last year were "political crimes" and not "ordinary crimes".

They feared that if the prosecutors used an approach similar to that of a criminal investigation, senior officers who were not "directly on the ground" would not be implicated and would remain free of prosecution.

"Morally, Wiranto is guilty. But legally, I can prove his innocence to any law expert," noted lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution said on Saturday.

Nasution, who is leading a team of lawyers representing Wiranto and other military generals implicated in the violence, said that under Indonesian law, collective responsibility is not known and therefore his client was not responsible for what happened on the ground. (byg/dja)


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