Subject: AFP: Indonesian rights trial of officer adjourned

Agence France-Presse August 19, 2002

Indonesian rights trial of officer adjourned

Indonesia's human rights court has adjourned the trial of a former district military chief in East Timor after two victims of the 1999 bloodshed failed to appear to give evidence.

"We will give time for the prosecution to make present the two witnesses from East Timor who did not appear today," Judge Emril said at the trial of Lieutenant Colonel Endar Priyanto on Monday.

Emril postponed the court until next Monday.

It was not clear why the two failed to appear but in earlier cases some potential East Timorese witnesses expressed fears for their safety when staying away.

Priyanto, a former army commander in Dili, is accused of gross rights violations by failing to prevent or halt several incidents of violence involving pro-Indonesian militias in April and September 1999.

He is one of the 18 military and police officers, government officials and civilians who have been on trial.

The court last week acquitted the former police chief and five army or police officers and sentenced a former governor to just three years in jail, sparking widespread criticism here and abroad.

Indonesia set up the court to deflect pressure for a UN tribunal into the violence. It is being closely watched by the world for proof that Jakarta will punish those behind the violence

The militias, created and supported by Indonesian military elements, waged a campaign of intimidation before the August 30, 1999 vote for independence from Jakarta and of revenge afterwards.

At least 1,000 East Timorese are estimated to have died and whole towns were burnt to the ground. The territory finally became fully independent on May 20.


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