Subject: House Could Revise UNTAET MoU On ETimor Investigations

Detikworld, December 14, 2000

House Could Revise UNTAET MoU On ETimor Investigations

Reporter: D Sangga Buwana / Fitri & GB

Jakarta - The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister regarding the investigation of human rights violations in East Timor remains the center of debate. While suspects refuse to cooperate, the Attorney General maintains the MoU is legal although it may be revised by the House.

As widely reported, a questioning session scheduled for December 7 between UNTAET investigators, the AGO and witnesses failed dismally when the first 5 of the 22 witnesses failed to attend. The next day, their lawyers issued on official statement rejecting UNTAET's investigations.

Much of the controversy surrounds the issue of 'foreign intervention' and the fact that the UN is proceeding with investigations and prosecutions while the Indonesian authorities simultaneously pursue their own investigations and legal proceedings.

On Thursday 14/12/2000, both the Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab and Attorney General Marzuki Darusman were summoned before the House of Representatives to clarify the MoU at the centre of the international controversy.

Members of the House clearly view the two as the most responsible parties for the agreement. Responding to this, the Attorney General said the House could revise the MoU.

In an attempt to clear out the murky issue, the would summon Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The House considers both government officials are responsible for the much-debated MoU. The meeting had set to take place today, Thursday.

"The House could make a revision but it is not necessary," said Marzuki Darusman after attending the inauguration of junior military/police officers at the Merdeka Palace, Central Jakarta.

"This means, if the House wants to express their opinion, it will not be a problem," he said adding that all parties involved could hopefully work in cooperation..

Before meeting Speaker of the House, Akbar Tanjung, later in the day Darusman told reporters that the MoU was legal.

"If this is called intervention, I would say no it's not. We need to straighten this out because in reality there is only cooperation. How can you have a cooperative relationship that's carried out as intervention. It's intervention if it's outside the MoU," he added.

The fact that the results of the investigations and questioning sessions would be taken by the UN authorities to form the basis of their prosecutions did also not qualify as intervention. "This is the consequence. If one wants to see this as intervention, go ahead. But that is clearly not the opinion of the government," Marzuki stated.

As this report goes on line, it is still unclear if the House is of the same opinion as the Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs

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