Subject: "High-ranking officers" among Timor suspects to be announced

"High-ranking officers" among Timor suspects to be announced

JAKARTA, Aug 26 (AFP) - Indonesia's attorney general said on Saturday high-ranking military officials would be among 30 people suspected of last year's violence in East Timor, whose names will be announced next week.

"I think there are high-ranking officers," Attorney General Marzuki Darusman was quoted as saying by the Detik online news service.

Darusman had earlier said investigators had come up with more than 30 people suspected of involvement in and masterminding the campaign of terror in East Timor.

But he said his office needed a little more time to make sure they had a legal basis to announce suspects' names.

A recently amended article in the state constitution, which affirms the principle of non-retroactivity, did not apply to cases currently being investigated by the attorney general's office, he said.

The non-retroactivity principle means that the human rights law cannot be used to charge rights abuses which took place before it existed.

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 sanction the dispatch of an international force to quell the violence.

An attorney general's office spokesman had earlier 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."

However the spokesman gave no target date for the trial.

Following a meeting with Darusman earlier this month, 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 Indonesian 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.

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

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