Subject: Marzuki to brief House leaders on Timor MoU

The Jakarta Post December 14, 2000

Marzuki to brief House leaders on Timor MoU

JAKARTA (JP): In an attempt to calm fears of foreign intervention, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said on Wednesday he would brief the House of Representatives (DPR) on a joint investigation by his office and the United Nations into last year's violence in East Timor.

"The MoU (memorandum of understanding) and joint communique (between the government and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor) will be explained to House leaders tomorrow (Thursday) at 11 a.m.," Marzuki said after a Cabinet meeting at Bina Graha presidential office.

DPR, backed by the military, has strongly criticized the joint communique, which was signed in February, and its subsequent MoU between the government and UNTAET regarding cooperation on legal, judicial and human rights related matters.

Legislators, top generals and lawyers representing military and police officers implicated in East Timor violence fear that the agreement would lead to foreign intervention in the country's domestic affairs.

Marzuki said, however, that the joint agreement was actually made "to prevent an international tribunal (for those involved in the violence) from being convened.

He again guaranteed that "human rights violations in East Timor will be prosecuted under Indonesian law".

The memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, says that the government and UNTAET shall "afford to each other the widest possible measure of mutual assistance in investigations or court proceedings".

The memorandum, signed in April by Marzuki and UNTAET chief, Sergio Vieira de Mello, also says the mutual assistance would include, among others, "taking evidence or statements from persons; assisting in the availability of detained persons; ensuring service of judicial documents; executing arrests, searches and seizures; facilitating transfer of persons; and ensuring participation of representatives of authorities in legal proceedings".

Later in the day, secretary-general of the National Commission on Human Rights, Asmara Nababan, accused the defense lawyers of "shifting the focus of public attention from impunity and human rights violations to legal procedures".

"The core of the problem is that there have been violations of human rights and in this case, a crime against humanity, and this must be resolved," Asmara told the Post.

Separately, Governor of the National Resilience Institute Lt. Gen. Johny Lumintang voiced a different tone from his colleagues saying that the joint investigation by the government and UNTAET "should not be avoided".

"If we try to hide things or to complicate the investigation, it will be more obvious that we are guilty (of the allegations)," he said. (02/byg)

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