Subject: Jakarta to name Timor violence perpetrators by Wednesday

Jakarta to name Timor violence perpetrators by Wednesday

JAKARTA, Aug 18 (AFP) - Indonesian attorney general's office is set to announce Wednesday a list of military and civilian suspects in the massive violence that ravaged East Timor last year, a member with the office's team of experts said Friday.

Noted criminal expert Adrianus Meliala said here that Attorney General Marzuki Darusman had initially wanted to name five suspects in last year's violence in East Timor earlier this week.

"Marzuki actually wanted to announce five (suspects) this week, but our team is still trying to pinpoint the decision makers (of the violence), said Meliala, a member of Darusman's team of investigators on East Timor case.

"We saw the involvement of other higher-ranking individuals rather than just the field operators," he added.

"So we were given time until next Wednesday and all results of the (team's) investigation will be announced next Wedneday," he told journalists at the Attorney General's office on Friday evening.

The investigating team is made up of 38 prosecutors, six police officers, 10 military police officers, 15 legal experts, and 10 officials from the home ministry.

The main focus of the probe is concentrated on several incidents:

  • A militia attack on the Dili house of independence activist Manuel Carrascalao, during an unchecked rampage by pro-Indonesian militia in April last year, which left at least a dozen people dead, including Carrascalao's son.
  • The attack on the Dili diocese house, and the forced deportation of thousands of refugees sheltering from there to Indonesian-controlled West Timor in September.
  • Attacks on refugees holed up in churches in the towns of Liquisa and Suai in April and September respectively.
  • The murder of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes, who was working for the Financial Times newspaper, on September 21 by armed men a day after the multinational forces landed in East Timor to halt the rampage.

A spokesman with Darusman's office, Yushar Yahya told AFP last Wednesday that October 18 was "the deadline of our investigation, therefore the list of suspects should be announced before then."

Yahya declined to name the suspects, but has said investigators had questioned a total of 107 civilian and military witnesses from Jakarta, the East Nusatenggara provincial capital of Kupang and from several districts in East Timor.

East Timor was devastated by Indonesian military-backed militia in retaliation for its vote for independence from Indonesia on August 30 last year, prompting the United Nations to dispatch an international force to quell the violence.

How the suspects will be charged, Yahya said, would be based on "the technical side" of Indonesia's human rights law and the government's 1999 regulation on human rights trials.

He said a human rights tribunal would be held in Jakarta to try the suspects as soon as investigators had "completed the dossiers and charges of the case."

He gave no target date for the trial.

Following a meeting with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman here last week, UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson reiterated that the UN would unilaterally call an international war crimes tribunal if Jakarta failed to bring the perpetrators of the Timor violence to trial.

The Timor tribunal issue is ultra-sensitive in Indonesia, which lost thousands of soldiers during and after its invasion of the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

A preliminary probe named former armed forces chief General Wiranto as "morally responsible" for the bloodshed, which left more than 600 hundred dead and the infrastructure of the small half-island's economy in ruins.

Many of the formerly Jakarta-backed militia leaders, implicated in earlier reports for the bloodshed, are currently in Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

Jakarta has pledged to bring those guilty to trial but says it will not be bound by any UN tribunal.

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