Subject: Satunet: Rights body objects appointment of ad hoc judge for Timor trial

Also: JP: Activists skeptical about rights tribunal

Source: Satunet web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 16 Jan 02

Indonesia: Rights body objects appointment of ad hoc judge for Timor trial

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 16, 2002

Text of report by Indonesian Satunet news web site on 16 January The Megawati government needs to reconsider the appointment of Rudi M. Rizki as one of the ad hoc human rights judges.

According to the chairman of the Kontras [Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence] BP Presidium, Ori Rahman, Rudi is one of Wiranto's legal advisers in the case of serious violations of human rights in East Timor. According to him it opens up the possibility of a conflict of interest in the legal process.

According to him, the appointment of Rudi further showed that the nomination process was not above board, and did not involve the community. The government should be more focussed and pay more serious attention to the resolution of human rights violations, said Ori.

The government was also urged to have higher aspirations towards the problem of human rights, be capable of calling on the community's sense of justice and establish a better legal format, such as a guarantee of public control in the process of justice. Rudi himself came from academic circles, namely from the Padjajaran University in Bandung.

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Activists skeptical about rights tribunal

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Human rights activists expressed skepticism Tuesday on the fairness of trials in cases of human rights atrocities scheduled to start in February, citing the government's secrecy in recruiting ad hoc judges who were unveiled on Monday.

"The government's reasoning that the recruitment of ad hoc judges should be kept secret to protect the candidates' privacy is not acceptable," the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Coordinator Ori Rahman said in a press conference on Tuesday.

"The public needs to know about the candidates' track record, credibility and capability," he continued.

Kontras, nevertheless, has urged government officials to immediately enact into law legislation in areas ranging from witness protection and compensation to rehabilitation and restitution to support the trials.

On Monday, the government disclosed the names of 30 career and non-career judges to fill positions as first-degree judges and appeal judges at tribunals to for human rights violations in East Timor in 1999 and the Tandjung Priok bloodshed in 1984.

Supreme Court Justice Benyamin Mangkoedilaga defended the appointment of 18 ad hoc judges, saying the process complied with the mechanism similar to the recruitment of ad hoc judges for the court of commerce.

"There is no regulation obliging us to invite public participation in the recruitment," he said.

"Moreover, we're only given three months to do the recruitment and controversy over the candidates would only delay the whole process," he told the Post.

Benyamin said he had invited prominent rights activists to fill the positions, but they rejected.

"By law, ad hoc judges should let go of their professional life as public notary or lawyers; the only professionals allowed to continue in their work are academics," he said, revealing why the team picked up scholars from fields of human rights research and study.

He added that the government would hold a one-week training session on rights issues for the head and their deputies of district courts in Jakarta, North Sumatra capital of Medan, Surabaya, and the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar.

Meanwhile, East Timor Action Network spokesman John M. Miller expressed doubts that the court will bring proper justice, since Megawati has limited the case brought to court into incidents which took place in April and September 1999, on the preparation of and after the UN-sponsored referendum on independence in East Timor.

In his statement, made available to The Jakarta Post, Miller said that "the multiple delays in the establishment of the court -- earlier promised for December, then delayed to January 15th -- its limited jurisdiction, and the continued impunity with which the Indonesian military operates ... only reinforce our belief that the court will be a sham."

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