Subject: LUSA: Third Crimes Against Humanity Trial Begins

05 Feb 02 20:41 East Timor: Third Crimes Against Humanity Trial Begins

The trial of a Timorese accused of murdering a man days after the independence referendum in 1999 began Tuesday. Gaspar Leki had been serving in the Indonesian armed forces and is alleged to have killed an independence supporter in the district of Aileu, south of Dili, on September 9, 1999.

Leki`s trial is the third crimes against humanity trial to be heard by the Serious Crimes Unit, an office of the Timorese Prosecutor General`s office which is currently examining major incidents of mass murder and forced deportation, as well as individual cases of murder, rape and torture and other crimes against humanity committed between Jan. 1 and Oct. 25 in 1999.

During preliminary hearings last June, Leki said he had fired at the victim and pleaded guilty to murder. He added that a group of pro-Indonesian militia members had ordered him to attack the victim`s village. At the time, Leki claimed he thought that he had shot an animal.

Meanwhile, another crimes against humanity trial that began last week, recommences Wednesday. A delay in recruiting legal officials has meant that a Portuguese judge, Antero Luis, has participated in this trial, in addition to the case beginning Tuesday.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

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