Subject: SMH: Chilly welcome for Indonesian investigators in E. Timor

Sydney Morning Herald Monday, July 24, 2000

Chilly welcome for Indonesian investigators

By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Dili

An Indonesian judicial team in East Timor to investigate violence by Jakarta's military and its local allies last year faced a hostile reception at the weekend.

Many ordinary Timorese believe that Indonesia, with no tradition of an impartial judiciary, is incapable of providing justice.

"There seems to be cynicism by the people of East Timor concerning 'Black September'. It seems there is a game being played between the TNI [Indonesian military] and the Attorney-General's department," a journalist from The Timor Post said.

The Indonesians are gathering evidence on five incidents of murder and mass murder around the August30 vote on self-determination. However, they said they had yet to question Eurico Guterres, one of East Timor's most notorious militia commanders, about the massacre of 12 people at the Carrascalao house in Dili.

Several East Timorese witnesses say they feel so strongly they are prepared to travel to Jakarta to testify - a dangerous offer given that most of the militia leaders and military officers behind the bloodshed live freely in Indonesia.

UN officials in Dili say as many as 1,500 independence supporters were killed in two weeks of unchecked mayhem after East Timor voted to end 24 years of Indonesian occupation.

It has also emerged that some in the UN mission in East Timor fear that pursuing militia leaders would harm attempts to heal relations between the two countries.

The independence leader Jose Xanana Gusmao, who is expected to be East Timor's first democratically elected president, has also raised privately the possibility of blanket pardons for militia leaders.

By contrast, Bishop Carlos Belo has been a staunch advocate of legal proceedings.

Political analysts said that highly publicised arrests and trials of militia and military leaders would be likely to jeopardise attempts to secure the return of some 120,000 East Timorese still in Indonesian military-controlled camps in West Timor. With an eye on elections within two years, they say 120,000 is also a lot of votes.

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