Subject: LUSA: EU, rights groups denounce Jakarta's flimsy human rights trials

06-08-2003 12:51:00. Notícia nº SIR-5295232 Temas: new destaque2

East Timor: EU, rights groups denounce Jakarta's flimsy human rights trials

Brussels, Aug. 6 (Lusa) - The European Union, echoing denunciations from rights groups worldwide, Wednesday expressed its "disappointment" with Indonesia's trials of officers and officials charged with committing crimes against humanity in formerly occupied East Timor.

In a statement issued in Brussels, the EU underlined that Indonesia's special court, which winded up more than a year of trials Tuesday, had not been presented with "all the evidence" and had only passed a few light sentences in "a process that had not permitted that justice be done".

The EU's condemnation followed Jakarta's last of 18 trials, which saw a court sentence Major General Adam Damiri, the senior defendant in the process, to three years for not having moved to stop Indonesian army and militia atrocities in East Timor in 1999.

On Tuesday, immediately after Gen. Damiri's sentencing, prestigious international organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rigts Watch and East Timor Action Network, denounced the Jakarta trials as "shameful" and a "farce".

Some of the group's, including East Timor's Justice System Monitoring Program, demanded the United Nations now act to bring to justice those responsible for the anti-independence slaughter and rampages.

Indonesian human rights groups also expressed disappointment at the trials, which acquitted 12 of the 18 defendants, giving minimal sentences to only six.

But they underlined the historic character of Gen. Damiri's sentence in a nation with only fledgling democratic institutions.

The Indonesian Foundation for Legal Aid described the general's condemnation as "rare", a "definitive landmark in the defense of human rights" in Indonesia.


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