Subject: AFP: Indonesian military lawyers reject joint UN Timor probe

Indonesian military lawyers reject joint UN Timor probe

JAKARTA, Dec 8 (AFP) - Lawyers defending Indonesian officers accused of masterminding last year's post-ballot violence in East Timor rejected Friday any further probe attempts by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

"We, the human rights advocacy team for Indonesian military and police officers refuse to have our clients be investigated by the UNTAET team," said chief lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution here.

"One of the legal actions we have taken is to submit a letter of rejection to the (Indonesian) armed forces chief, the police chief and the home affairs minister," Nasution told a press conference here.

The rejection came as five of the officers concerned failed for a second day to turn up for questioning at the attorney general's office here for questioning by a team of nine UNTAET investigators.

Nasution said the refusal to submit to questioning was based on "legal flaws" in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on April 5 between Indonesia's attorney general's office and UNTAET.

He argued that the flaws could be seen in several clauses in the agreement -- one of which stipulated the facilitation of extradition of witnesses and suspects between UNTAET and the attorney general's office.

Those clauses, he said, could not be enforced because the MoU was only "a legal product that has yet to be finalized and should be followed by a treaty."

Nasution also accused the nine-member team led by Norwegian Oyvind Olsen of "intefering with the authority of the attorney general's office," saying their clients were "Indonesian citizens."

After five keys suspects and witnesses failed to answer summons from prosecutors on Thursday, Olsen said that he would again request for the suspects to come forward.

The five are former East Timor police chief Brigadier General Timbul Silaen, former Liquica district chief Adios Salova and three senior police officers formerly posted in East Timor

Both Silaen and Salova have been named as suspects.

The defence lawyers for the five are also defending former armed forces chief General Wiranto -- who had been accused by a human rights sub-commission team last year of "having the knowledge and masterminding" the September mayhem.

However Wiranto -- who was held "morally responsible" for the massive violence by the sub-commission -- is not on the list of 22 suspects named by the attorney general's office.

Officials have said he could be named later.

Wiranto has maintained his innocence and said that he tried to be a peacemaker before and during the vote, arguing that not one of the UN personnel on the ground at the time was killed.

Hundreds of people were killed in the wave of violence and arson led by Indonesian army raised and trained militia. Of the thousands who were forced to flee to neighbouring West Timor, some 120,000 remain holed up in squalid camps, reportedly still in the grip of the militia.

The militia followed the refugees to West Timor when international troops arrive in the East to halt the rampage.

UN human rights chief Mary Robinson has warned that if Indonesia fails to bring those responsible to trial, the suspects could be tried by an international tribunal.

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