Subject: JP: Wiranto ready for E. Timor tribunal

The Jakarta Post August 7, 2001

Wiranto ready for E. Timor tribunal

JAKARTA (JP): Former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto said that he was ready to accept punishment should he be proven guilty of involvement in human rights abuses around the time of the self-determination ballot in East Timor in 1999.

Speaking to journalists after meeting President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Monday, Wiranto said that he hoped the upcoming ad hoc tribunal on human rights violations would meet the requirements of justice, and not just politics.

"If the court decides that we are guilty, we are ready to face punishment for any of our mistakes. But if we are found innocent please do not hesitate to publicize that," he said at a press briefing.

He further underlined that he himself, along with his fellow TNI officers implicated in the East Timor issue, would face the tribunal with an attitude of legowo (Javanese term for openheartedness) and would not hamper any efforts by the government to thoroughly investigate the case.

"I hope the government will deal with the whole case honestly and transparently. It would be very unfair on us if public opinion affected the legal process in the case," Wiranto said, referring to accusations that the military masterminded the ballot-linked mayhem.

The new government has revised the presidential decree on ad hoc tribunals by specifically stating that the tribunal should handle human rights violations in East Timor in April 1999 and September 1999, and the rights abuses that occurred during the Tanjung Priok shooting spree in September 1984.

Many rights violations in East Timor were reported both before and after the ballot, including the April 17 attack on proindependence leader Manuel Carrascalao's house in Dili in which 12 people died. At least 26 people were killed in a September massacre of refugees in a church in Suai.

The Attorney General's Office had prepared 12 dossiers on 18 suspects involving four incidents of alleged human rights' abuses that occurred before and after the Aug. 30 ballot. So far, Wiranto has not been named as being among the 18 suspects, although an investigation by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) stated that he was among the officials responsible for the rights abuses.

"I just hope that there will be no manipulation of this case ... because I know it will be very difficult for the Attorney General's Office to find evidence of something that never happened," he said.

"I know what really happened there and it was not as horrible as they said it was. There have been many unfounded accusations."

Wiranto was dismissed from his post as coordinating minister for political, social and security affairs during former president Abdurrahman Wahid's tenure for his alleged involvement in the East Timor rights abuses.

Indonesia has come under international pressure to deal convincingly with all human rights abuses, especially in the former province of East Timor. (dja)

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