|Subject: SMH: UN sets out charges on
E.Timor referendum violence
Also: WP: U.N. Names 11 in E. Timor Violence
Sydney Morning Herald December 12, 2000 UN sets out charges on referendum violence By Mark Dodd, Herald Correspondent in Dili
The United Nations has handed down the first indictments for crimes against humanity committed during last year's violence in East Timor and expects the first trial to take place next month.
The charges include the murder of church workers, including two nuns, following the overwhelming vote for independence in the UN referendum on August 30 last year.
The indictments name 11 members of a Los Palos-based militia called Team Alpha and Lieutenant Sayful Anwar, an officer in Indonesia's special forces, Kopassus, who faces additional charges of murder, mutilation and torture. Issued by the Dili District Court's special panel for serious crimes, the indictments relate to murders committed on September 25, 1999. Nine of the militia suspects, all East Timorese, are held in UN jails. Arrest warrants have been issued for Anwar and a former militiaman, whose whereabouts are unknown.
Anwar is further charged with the abduction, torture, mutilation and murder of an East Timorese man, Averisto Lopes, at the Team Alpha headquarters in Los Palos on April 21, 1999. "These are the first indictments involving crimes against humanity," said the UN's chief prosecutor for serious crimes, Tanzanian judge Mohamed Otman.
"They [the militia] were also operating with the full support of the TNI [Indonesian military] and Kopassus in Los Palos." Judge Otman said the indictments sent a clear message to Indonesia that, with or without its co-operation, the UN was determined to proceed against those responsible for the violence.
"Whether you speak to us or not, we're going ahead. There has been blocking and resistance from TNI," he said.
He said Anwar was still serving and should be easy to track down with Jakarta's help. "They must know his army registration number." The September 25 attack, which took place on the Baucau-Los Palos road, is believed to have been ordered by a Kopassus unit.
The victims were an Italian nun, Sister Erminia Cazzaniga; a Timorese nun, Sister Celeste de Carvalho; three priests, Jacinto Xavier, Fernando dos Santos and Velrio da Conceicao; two female church workers, Titi Sandora Lopes and Christo Vao Rudi Barretto; an Indonesian journalist, Agus Mulyawan; and 14-year-old Izino Freitas Amaral, a passer-by.
Washington Post Tuesday, December 12, 2000 U.N. Names 11 in E. Timor Violence By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Foreign Service JAKARTA, Indonesia, Dec. 11 --" U.N. prosecutors in East Timor today issued the first war crime indictments in connection with the violence that enveloped the territory after residents voted for independence from Indonesia last year.
In a significant step toward bringing suspects to account for the terror campaign that destroyed much of East Timor, 10 members of a pro-Indonesia militia and one Indonesian army officer were charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in atrocities that included the deportation of thousands of people to Indonesian-controlled western Timor and the killings of three priests and two nuns.
Prosecutors said the indictments, which focus on crimes in and around the town of Los Palos in East Timor's eastern district, are the first in a series. Indictments that prosecutors expect to file over the next several weeks likely will include higher-ranking Indonesian military officials and leaders of military-backed militias, officials said.
Human rights workers have criticized the United Nations, which is governing East Timor until elections next year, for moving slowly to identify suspects in the wave of violence that left hundreds dead and more than 85 percent of the territory's buildings destroyed. But prosecutors contend their efforts have been hindered by a lack of resources from the United Nations, particularly a shortage of cars, interpreters, evidence-gathering equipment and seasoned investigators.
Prosecutors also have encountered difficulties in gathering evidence from Indonesian citizens. Although the United Nations and the Indonesian government earlier this year signed an agreement to cooperate on investigative matters, U.N. officials seeking to question 22 Indonesian suspects have been repeatedly rebuffed by the suspects' lawyers. The suspects, most of whom are soldiers and police officers, today failed for the third time to show up for an interview in Jakarta with Indonesian prosecutors and U.N. investigators.
A lawyer representing the suspects said the cooperative agreement, signed by Indonesia's attorney general, is invalid because it was not approved by parliament. "It is illegal and not binding," said the lawyer, Mohamed Assegaf. "Allowing this kind of questioning is a violation of Indonesian sovereignty."
The attorney general, Marzuki Darusman, maintained the agreement is legal and said U.N. officials would not directly question the suspects, but would pose their queries to Indonesian prosecutors, who would then grill the suspects. Marzuki said he plans to ask military and police commanders to order their officers to submit to questioning.
He said the issue had been "blown out of proportion" by the suspects' lawyers.
"We'd like them to come forward and talk to us," East Timor's chief prosecutor, Mohamed Othman, said of the 22 suspects. "But their refusal to do so is not going to deter our efforts."
The 22 Indonesians have been named as suspects by the government, which is conducting its own inquiry into the violence. The government has resisted calls for an international human rights tribunal--along the lines of those set up for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia--instead insisting that it will try suspects in Indonesian courts and under Indonesian law.
But international human rights advocates question Indonesia's commitment to thoroughly investigating the violence, which they believe was ordered by high-ranking military officials. The 22 suspects do not include any senior army generals.
Although prosecutors in East Timor are expected to indict Indonesian military officers, chances are slim the government would extradite them to East Timor.
As a consequence, prosecutors in East Timor said they are focusing first on suspects already behind bars. Of the 11 people indicted today, nine are in jail. Most were apprehended by U.N. peacekeepers as they returned to East Timor from Indonesia.
Among the two still at large is army Lt. Sayful Anwar, a member of a special forces brigade accused by human rights groups of numerous abuses in East Timor. U.N. officials believe Anwar is in Indonesia. Othman said trials of the nine suspects in custody likely would begin in the spring.
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