Subject: Jakarta to host UN murder trial

Indonesian Observer November 17, 2000

Jakarta to host UN murder trial

JAKARTA (IO) - The alleged killers of three foreign humanitarian aid workers West Timor will be brought to trial at the North Jakarta District Court, an official said yesterday. A date for the trial is yet to be set.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff were brutally murdered in the West Timor town of Atambua on September 6. International aid workers have not resumed operations in the area since the killings.

Sudhono Iswahyudi, head of the East Nusa Tenggara High Court, yesterday said seven suspects will go on trial.

"Due to security reasons, officials in the West Timor district of Belu have asked the Justice and Human Rights Ministry and Supreme Court to hold the trial in Jakarta, specifically at the North Jakarta District Court," he said.

The three slain UN staff were Croat Pedro Simunsa, Ethiopian Samson Aregahen, and South American Carlos Caceres Colazo.

Sudhono said the murder case has been divided into two dossiers. The first dossier is on suspect Sinto Parera and his accomplices. The second is on suspect Jose Francisco and his accomplices. Both dossiers have been submitted to the Atambua Attorney's Office for further processing.

All seven suspects are young East Timorese men who reside in refugee camps in West Timor.

A UN Security Council (UNSC) delegation led by Namibian Ambassador to the UN, Martin Andjaba, this week inspected the UNHCR office in Atambua, the location where the three employees were hacked to dead and burned.

The delegation laid a wreath to honor the courage and dedication of the three victims.

The killings took place the day after the murder of a pro-Jakarta militia leader Olivio Mendoza Moruk.

Sudhono said the alleged killers of Olivio are local residents of Besikama town, South Belu district, West Timor. It's unclear where or when they will be put on trial.

The files on the suspected killers of Olivio have also been divided into two dossiers. The first is on Octavianus Bere and his cohorts, while the second is on Yulianus Bere and his friends.

Sudhono said justice authorities are dealing with both murder cases at the same time to prove that everyone is equal before the law in Indonesia.

The killings shocked the international community and sparked widespread condemnation of Indonesia for failing to rein in the militia thugs that were created by the Indonesian military.

Eurico Guterres

Sudhono said former militia leader Eurico Guterres, who is charged with illegal ownership of guns and provocation, will also be put on trial in Jakarta.

He said Guterres is charged with violating a 1951 law on states of emergency, and the Criminal Code. Guterres was supposed to go on trial at Kupang District Court in West Timor for illegal possession of guns.

But judges there adjourned the trial indefinitely and later dropped the charges because they couldn't decide on whether Guterres is a civilian or a member of the military.

The public prosecutor in Kupang complained to the East Nusa Tenggara High Attorney's Office, which subsequently ordered the Kupang District Court to reopen the case.

The court has since sent letters to Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Izha Mahendra and the Supreme Court demanding that the trial be held in Jakarta.

The request is based on the fact that Guterres is now in detention in Jakarta. But justice officials are yet to state where he will go on trial.

The provocation launched by Guterres took place when Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri visited Atambua to witness the disarmament of the militias.

Angered that he had been denied a meeting with the vice president, Guterres encouraged his fellow militiamen to refuse to disarm and to take back any guns that had been submitted.

Analysts say Guterres is probably responsible for much of last year's carnage that erupted in East Timor before and after the territory voted overwhelmingly to split from Indonesia.

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