Subject: AP: Indonesian Military: To Cooperate In Trials Over E Timor

Also: Indonesian general ready to face trial on Timor abuses

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Indonesian Military: To Cooperate In Trials Over E Timor

JAKARTA, Jan. 3 (AP) -- Indonesia's military said Thursday it would cooperate with a special human rights court set up to try top commanders and militiamen accused of crimes in East Timor in 1999.

"We support it as long as it is in line with our laws," said armed forces spokesman Air Vice Marshall Graito Usodo. He said the men would be provided with defense lawyers for the proceedings.

The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that trials for 19 suspects were expected to begin by the middle of January in Jakarta.

The trials are expected to test the strength of the ties between President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the army, which backed her takeover of power from former head of state Abdurrahman Wahid six months ago.

Hundreds of people were killed and about 250,000 others fled their homes in a three-week rampage by the Indonesian army and its militia proxies after East Timor voted to secede from Indonesia in August, 1999.

The violence ended when international peacekeepers arrived.

The United Nations accepted Jakarta's pledge that it would conduct its own inquiry and prosecute those responsible for crimes surrounding the independence vote. It did so despite recommendations that an international war crimes tribunal akin to those for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda was needed for East Timor.

"Its a tricky point," said Andi Malarangeng, a prominent analyst and former government policy adviser. "Megawati needs the military's support in these turbulent times, but international pressure and local non-governmental groups are behind the ad hoc trial."

He said it was the first time that high-ranking officers had agreed to be tried in a civilian court.

Among those accused are Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri - who was regional military in East Timor at the time of the violence.

Analysts say they don't expect Megawati's administration to vigorously prosecute top officers to avoid losing the support of the military brass.

She has come under fire recently from human rights and other non-governmental groups and from top parliamentary leaders for doing little to combat endemic corruption and revive the moribund economy.

"There will be a middle line taken. There will be some action but it won't go as far international expectations," Malarangeng predicted.


Agence France-Presse January 2, 2002

Indonesian general ready to face trial on Timor abuses

An Indonesian general has said reportedly said he is ready to face a special court on suspected human rights crimes in East Timor in 1999.

Major General Adam Damiri, one of the several military leaders named as defendant in the trials to start this month, added though that he hoped the trial would not become political, the Koran Tempo daily said Wednesday.

"We will follow it, if it is a law enforcement effort," said Damiri who was head of the Bali-based Udayana military command that oversaw security in East Timor in 1999.

He said that the Indonesian military commander, Admiral Widodo Adisucipto, had issued a directive to all officers named in the rights trial procedure to take part in the judicial process.

But Damiri said that he was confident the court would recognize his innocence, as he was only obeying procedures and his actions had been taken in the name of the state.

"The evidence is all there," Damiri said without elaborating.

Supreme Court chief Bagir Manan last month said that the ad-hoc court would be ready to sit on January 15 to hear the cases of suspected human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.

Indonesian prosecutors originally named 23 people, including Damiri, as suspects in cases of gross human rights violations in the turbulent months surrounding East Timor's vote for independence on August 30, 1999.

However dossiers on only 19 of the suspects have been prepared for trial.

One of the original suspects, a Timorese militia leader, was killed shortly after being named last year, and prosecutors claim they cannot locate three other militia leaders.

Among the other officers to face the ad hoc court are the then head of the Dili military, Colonel Suhartono Suratman, the then head of the military command in Liquica, Lieutenant Colonel Asep Kuswandi, and the former head of the police in Liquica, Lieutenant Colonel Adios Salova.

A decree issued by President Megawati Sukarnoputri shortly after she became president in July authorised the court to hear crimes that occurred in April and September 1999 in Dili, Suai and Liquica.

They include the slaughters of refugees sheltering in churches in Liquica and Suai, and attacks on the refugee-packed homes of Dili's bishop and a pro-independence figure.

So far no Indonesia soldiers or police have been tried.

Jakarta's delay in trying those accused, as it has vowed to do in order to avoid an international war crimes tribunal, has drawn repeated criticism from the United Nations and local and international human rights groups.

Anti-independence militia gangs, raised and aided by Indonesian police, soldiers and administration officials, led an orgy of killing, arson and destruction before and after the August 1999 independence ballot.

A Dili court, convicting 10 militiamen of crimes against humanity, on Tuesday found that "widespread and systematic" violence and destruction against East Timorese civilians were "for the most part" directed by Indonesian security forces and supported by Indonesian authorities.

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