Subject: SMH: Australia Under Pressure To Open East Timor Files

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Sydney Morning Herald March 18, 2002

Australia Under Pressure To Open East Timor Files

By Hamish Mcdonald

War crimes investigators from the United Nations and Indonesia look likely to press the Australian Government for access to top-secret reports relating to the campaign of fear waged against East Timor's independence vote.

Officials in the Serious Crimes Unit of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor met on Friday to discuss taking action on details of the intelligence material published in the Herald last Thursday.

Separately, a senior member of Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri's political party, legislator Subagio Anam, has said that prosecutors would approach the Australian embassy in Jakarta for information that could be used in the trials of those suspected of human rights abuses.

The Herald reported that intercepts by the Defence Signals Directorate of telephone conversations, that took place during the 1999 violence, linked high-ranking Indonesian military officers to the local militias who carried out massacres to intimidate the East Timorese.

The pattern of intercepts mapped out a chain of command that led to the then co-ordinating minister of politics and security, General Feisal Tanjung. It also pointed to several other generals who, like General Tanjung, have not been included in the Indonesian indictments.

The UN has stood back to allow Indonesia to fulfil its promise to bring to justice military and civilian officials suspected of involvement with the militia activity.

However, the limited scope of the Jakarta trials and the constitutional challenge to the jurisdiction of the court mounted by defence lawyers are already causing concern among human rights experts in Indonesia and international bodies.

The UN investigators in East Timor are understood to have been given assessments based on the telephone intercepts to help direct their own inquiries, but not to the raw material which may have much greater value to any prosecutions.

Another source of frustration is that Indonesian documents collected by the Australian-led international force Interfet, which restored security in East Timor after Indonesia agreed to withdraw its forces, were taken back to Australia when a UN force took over in February 2000.

UN officials have not been allowed to study these documents, but have to make specific requests using document titles or content details before Australia's Department of Defence makes them available, sources in Dili said.

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