Subject: JP: Indonesia says no extradition as E Timor indicts 17 men

[Poster's note: Contrary to what is stated in the article: Section 9 of the MOU referred to below clearly calls for extradition, even if it does not use the term: "Transfer of Persons 9.1 The Parties undertake to transfer to each other all persons whom the competent authorities of the requesting Party are prosecuting for a criminal offence or whom these authorities want for the purposes of serving a sentence." The MOU is posted at]

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post February 19, 2002

Indonesia says no extradition as E. Timor indicts 17 men

Yogita Tahilramani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian officials said they would not hand over 17 men indicted by prosecutors in East Timor on Monday for alleged crimes against humanity, saying that Jakarta has no extradition agreement with the territory.

While an official request for extradition has yet to be forwarded, officials in Jakarta quickly asserted that Indonesians charged with crimes in the former province should be tried under Indonesian law.

"We currently do not have a written understanding that specifically states that Indonesia will allow the extradition of the suspects (to East Timor) ... There isn't anything as such now," foreign ministry spokesman Wahid Supriyadi told The Jakarta Post.

The latest development comes after prosecutors for the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) indicted the 17 for alleged crimes committed during East Timor's violent split from Indonesia in 1999.

A statement from UNTAET said charges included "murder, persecution and other inhumane acts," which were the results of an investigation into a 1999 rally in Dili, that climaxed in a wave of militia violence against East Timorese civilians perceived as independence supporters.

While the complete list of the 17 names could not be immediately obtained, UNTAET confirmed that prominent pro-Jakarta militia commander Eurico Guterres was included.

Guterres is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity, two for murder, one for persecution and two for inhumane acts, for the acts of his subordinates and his direct participation in the violence.

Four Besi Merah Putih (BMP) militia leaders are similarly charged, while 12 BMP and Indonesian Military members are charged for participating in the violence.

The Indonesian government here has moved at a snail's pace in setting up an Ad Hoc Human Rights Court on human rights violation cases before and after the East Timor vote in 1999.

Siri Frigaard, the UN deputy prosecutor general in East Timor, said on Monday that international arrest warrants would be sought from Interpol for the 17 accused.

Asked on the possibility of getting the suspects, Frigaard replied: "We don't have a guarantee, but it would be difficult for a country to refuse an extradition."

"We might succeed, we might not succeed, but at least we have to try," he added.

UNTAET officials said the Indonesian Attorney General's Office has been made aware of the indictments and impending warrants.

While it is true that no extradition treaty exists, Indonesia does have a memorandum with UNTAET regarding cooperation on legal, judicial and human rights related matters.

Signed in April 2000 it states that both parties shall "afford to each other the widest possible measure of mutual assistance in investigations or court proceedings."

However the memorandum falls short on provisions for extradition.

On Monday former minister of defense Juwono Sudarsono said that Indonesia was handling the matter "within the terms of our own domestic law".

"This includes a human rights tribunal which is still hotly debated about amongst our political society.

"Our position remains firm, that is to commit to (Indonesia's) own terms ... for the meanwhile, we will not consider extraditing the suspects," Juwono said.

Political and military observers have also noted the links between those allegedly involved in rights crimes in East Timor and ranking Indonesians.

Many militiamen have worked closely with elements of the military, and Guterres himself, for example, currently leads a youth wing of President Megawati Soekarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

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