Subject: JP: Wiranto, Damiri, Noer Muis to testify at human rights trial

Also: Trial lawyers say police not responsible

The Jakarta Post March 30, 2002

Wiranto, Damiri, Noer Muis to testify at human rights trial

Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto is expected to make a much-anticipated appearance at the human rights tribunal on April 4 to testify in the trial of a former Indonesian official accused of committing crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999.

At the third hearing on Thursday, presiding Judge Andi Samsan Nganro also plans to summon former chief of the Udayana Military Command Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri and former chief of the Wiradharma Military Command Brig. Gen. A. Noer Muis as witnesses at the Central Jakarta District Court on April 4.

Judge Andi made the statements during the third session of the trial of former East Timor police chief Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen, who is accused of perpetrating gross human rights violations before and after the August vote sponsored by the United Nations in the former Indonesian province of East Timor in 1999.

"The court has accepted the prosecutors' indictment and decided to continue the trial against the defendant. At the next hearing on April 4, we ask the prosecutor to bring the three witnesses to give their testimonies. They are Wiranto, Adam Damiri and Noer Muis," Andi told the court.

Wiranto has repeatedly said he is ready to testify before the court.

Some human rights activists have demanded that Wiranto be named a suspect due to his position at the time when the violence took place in East Timor. But Wiranto, who was questioned in 2000 by the commission of inquiry into the East Timor debacle, denied any wrongdoing. His name was not in the list of 30 persons recommended by the inquiry to the Attorney General's Office for formal investigation.

Adam and Muis are among 18 defendants charged with gross human rights violations in the former Portuguese colony.

Silaen is charged under Article 9 of Law No. 26/2000 on rights tribunals with the killing of civilians that occurred at separate locations in East Timor, including the Liquisa incident on April 6, 1999, as well as the attacks by pro-Jakarta militias on the residences of pro-independence leaders, Manuel Viegas Carrascalao and Leandro Isaac, on April 17, 1999.

Prosecutor James Pardede also accused Silaen of being responsible when groups of soldiers of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police went on the rampage at St. Ave Maria church in Suai in September 1999. At least 27 people were killed, including three Catholic priests.

Silaen is further accused of being responsible when militiamen attacked Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo's residence in Dili on Sept. 6, 1999.

"It's better for me for this trial to continue, so that we can disclose to the public that we did good things there," Silaen told reporters after the trial.

Earlier, defense lawyers challenged the legality of the ongoing trial, arguing that the country's legal code did not recognize retroactivity.

They also insisted that Law No. 26/2000, which serves as the legal basis for the human rights trial, did not specifically mention East Timor as coming under the court's jurisdiction.

"The establishment of the ad hoc tribunal is in line with a decision of the House of Representatives as it asked the executive to issue a decree about the matter.

"To follow up on this, the President issued a decree in 2001 to establish the ad hoc tribunal to try the 1984-bloodshed in Tanjung Priok and the 1999 East Timor violence. Therefore, the court is competent to try the case," Judge Andi said, adding that the matter did not involve retroactivity.

Earlier in the day, the court resumed the trial of former East Timor governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares on the same charges. Like Silaen, Abilio's trial was adjourned until April 4 to hear the panel of judges' decision.


Source: Kompas Cyber Media web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 26 Mar 02

East Timor human rights trial lawyers say police not responsible BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Mar 26, 2002

Jakarta, Kompas: In accordance with Operations Plan No 04/VIII/1999 dated 31 August 1999, the East Timor Police Area - including Suai Police District which was commanded by the accused Gatot Subiyaktoro - no longer had responsibility for the security, law and order of the East Timor community. This was the responsibility of TNI [Indonesian Armed Forces] Nusa Tenggara Operations Command Commander. Therefore the prosecution's charges should be considered "error in persona", that is, against the wrong person.

"Legally, the bench must find that the charges from the prosecutor cannot be accepted," said Ruhut Sitompul, one of Gatot Subiyaktoro's legal advisers during the trial of serious human rights violations (HAM) in East Timor after the referendum, on Monday (25 March), at the Central Jakarta District Court/ Ad Hoc Human Rights Court. Gatot, former Chief of Suai Police District - together with Herman Sedyono, Liliek Koeshadianto, Achmad Syamsudin and Sugito - are accused of serious human rights abuses in East Timor following the referendum.

One of the cases of human rights violations being tried is the attack on refugees at the Ave Maria Church, Suai, on 6 September 1999, in which 27 people were killed. According to Sitompul, on 5 September the Operations Command Commander reported the East Timor situation to the Minister of Defence and Security/TNI Commander when he came to Dili, East Timor.

"That means that after 1000 local time on 5 September 1999 by law, authority was removed from the Chief of East Timor Police with respect to security, law and order," said Sitompul. At the fifth session, like last week, the hearing was attended by uniformed army officers, including the head of the TNI Legal Administration Body, Maj-Gen Timur Manurung, the head of the Police Legal Administration Body, Inspector-General Logan Siagian and DPR [House of Representatives] Commission II member Tatang Kurniadi...

Source: Kompas Cyber Media web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 26 Mar 02

/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.

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