Subject: ABC: East Timor considers militia trial options

East Timor considers militia trial options

East Timor may not seek a United Nations tribunal to try cases of militia atrocities three years ago even if Indonesia's human rights court fails to deliver justice according to its foreign minister.

Jose Ramos-Horta said the government is considering an alternative solution to satisfy the public's demand for justice, taking into account East Timor's good relations with its former occupier Indonesia.

Mr Ramos-Horta says the government has to think about the consequences of demanding an international tribunal, especially as far as relations with Indonesia are concerned.

He gave no indication of what alternatives might be acceptable but said the East Timor would not forget the 1999 militia violence.

Pro-Jakarta militias, armed and organised by the Indonesian military, waged a brutal campaign of terror in which an estimated 1,000 people were killed before and after East Timor's vote on August 30, 1999, to break away from Indonesia.

Indonesia has set up a human rights court to try the atrocities to deflect international pressure for an international tribunal.

In widely criticised verdicts, the human rights court has already acquitted six officers, including the former East Timor police chief, and sentenced the former provincial governor to just three years in jail.

18/11/2002 22:38:00 | ABC Radio Australia News

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