Subject: AFP: Indonesian Rights commission slams military for failure to prevent UN killings

Rights commission slams military for failure to prevent UN killings

JAKARTA, Sept 8 (AFP) - Indonesia's Human Rights Commission slammed the country's military and police Friday for "failing to prevent" a brutal attack on UN staff in West Timor. The attack came after three foreign humanitarian workers were hacked to death by pro-Jakarta Timorese militias on Wednesday.

"They should have been provided with full security protection by the Indonesian government," the commission's secretary general Asmara Nababan told a press conference here.

"But when the attack occurred, they didn't have the protection they needed, especially from the military and police," he said.

The commission demanded that the government make the military and police take responsibility for the security failure, saying the attack "should have been anticipated."

It also flatly rejected military excuses that the militia attacking the UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) office on Wednesday had been too numerous to control.

"We doubt that our security forces are incapable because they are faced with so many militiamen," Sugianto said.

"They are capable, they are capable," Nababan and Sugianto said in unison.

"It's not that they're incapable, they're not serious. They don't see this as a national problem which has to be dealt with firmly," Nababan added. "We know our forces are capable. How can they not be?"

Military spokesman Air Vice-Marshall Graito Usudo was quoted in Friday's Indonesian Observer newspaper as saying troops were wary of the militias because of their large numbers.

"There are thousands of them, we have to be careful," Graito said.

The rights commission also demanded the government swiftly disband and disarm the militia groups, and form a joint team with the UN to investigate Wednesday's attack.

Diplomatic sources in Jakarta told AFP Friday that on Thursday the United Nations briefed donor country representatives in Jakarta on the killings.

The sources quoted a UN representative as saying the UNHCR had requested protection, which had not arrived, and that the nine police on the spot did nothing to try to prevent the attackers from entering the compound.

The UN also rejected the suggestion that the crowd was simply out of control, saying that a "commando-like" section mounted on motorcycles had broken away from the group and headed straight for the UNHCR office.

"There was nothing spontaneous" about the attack, the UN representative was quoted as saying. "It was cold-blooded murder."

The attack on the UNHCR came a day after the killing, in unclear circumstances, of militia leader Olivio Mendosa Moruk, who last week was named a suspect in the government's investigations into last year's violence in East Timor.

The rights commission demanded investigators immediately lock up the remaining 18 suspects in detention cells at the Attorney General's Office, to prevent "the same fate befalling other suspects."

Two other militias have been named as suspects, as well as three generals, the former governor of East Timor, two former mayors and several low to middle ranking officers.

"What we fear is that suspects, which come from the militia group, when they meet a fate like this ... we can lose all important evidence, that is what we fear," commission chief Joko Sugianto said.

After conducting its own probe into last year's East Timor violence, the commission earlier this year recommended that 33 people, including then-armed forces chief Wiranto, be further investigated for human rights violations.

Jakarta has said it has sent a ten-member investigation team to Atambua, which has already arrested 15 people for questioning over Wednesday's killings.

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