Subject: AP/RT: UN Indictments Of Ex-Officials

also: Indonesia Ex-Military Chief Indicted Over E. Timor

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Indonesia Will Ignore UN Indictments Of Ex-Officials

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 25 (AP)--Indonesia's foreign minister said Tuesday that his country would ignore U.N. indictments of Indonesia's former armed forces chief along with six other generals for crimes against humanity during East Timor's bloody independence vote in 1999.

The Indonesian response came a few hours after U.N. prosecutors said in a statement that the seven military officials and a former governor of East Timor have been indicted with "crimes against humanity for murder, deportation and persecution."

Topping the list of indictments was ex-Indonesian armed forces commander Gen. Wiranto, who has long been named as the man most responsible for the bloodletting that swept the former Indonesian territory when its citizens voted for independence in the U.N.-sponsored referendum.

Rights groups have long called for Wiranto, who like many Indonesians uses a single name, to be held accountable. But the indictments are mostly symbolic because East Timor and Indonesia have no extradition treaty, and Indonesia has ignored all previous such indictments linked to the 1999 bloodshed.

Arrest warrants have been requested from the Dili District Court. They will then be forwarded to Indonesia's Attorney General, U.N. officials said.

But Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said his government would "simply ignore" the indictments, and insisted there was no need to take action against Wiranto.

"He is a free man. ... Why take action?" Wirayuda told The Associated Press. "Who gave (the U.N.) the mandate to indict Indonesians, under what basis, what authority?"

The indictment also charges six generals who were responsible for security in East Timor and ex-governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares with funding, training and arming the pro-Indonesia militias that joined the Indonesian military in killing nearly 2,000 people and forcing 250,000 Timorese to flee their homes before and after the referendum.

Along with Wiranto, those indicted are Maj. Gen. Zacky Anwar Makarim, Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, Maj. Gen. Adam Rachmat Damiri, Col. Suhartono Suratman, Col. Mohammad Noer Muis, Lt. Col. Yayat Sudrajat and Soares.

Tuesday's indictment accuses the men of involvement in 280 killings in 10 separate attacks. Among them were a church massacre in Liquica, an attack on a rally in Dili and an attack on a church compound in Dili.

The United Nations governed East Timor for 2 1/2 years until the territory achieved independence last May. The world body still provides government advisers, several hundred policemen and about 2,500 peacekeeping troops in the world's newest nation.

-Edited by Ryan Woo


Indonesia Ex-Military Chief Indicted Over E. Timor

By Jerry Norton

JAKARTA, Feb. 25 (Reuters) - The United Nations has charged a former Indonesian armed forces chief, six other military officers and a civilian official with crimes against humanity over violence surrounding East Timor's 1999 vote for independence.

Former armed forces chief General Wiranto has consistently denied any wrongdoing in East Timor. He has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2004 by a top political party.

"The accused have all been charged with crimes against humanity for murder, deportation and persecution in that these crimes were all undertaken as part of a widespread or systematic attack" against East Timor civilians, the serious crimes unit of the U.N. Mission of Support said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition to Wiranto, who was armed forces chief at the time of the independence vote, the indictment named six other Indonesian military officers and the former Indonesian governor of East Timor, Abilio Soares.

Indonesian forces invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed the former Portuguese colony the following year.

The United Nations estimates more than 1,000 people were killed in the 1999 violence, most of them independence supporters. Much of the killing was done by pro-Jakarta militia groups the U.N. indictment says acted with military support.

The U.N. statement said the indictment was filed Monday in the district court in East Timor's capital, Dili, and it "documents more than 280 murders based on over 1,500 witness statements and reports."

A lawyer for Wiranto, Yan Juanda, told Reuters he was not aware of the indictment.

"NO EXTRADITION"

An Indonesian court last year found former East Timor governor Soares guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to three years in jail. He is appealing that verdict.

The United Nations ran East Timor after the August 1999 vote until the territory was declared formally independent in May last year but it still has a mission there.

Several others on the U.N. indictment list have been named in human rights cases underway in Indonesia, but not Wiranto. Human rights groups have said Wiranto, as overall military commander, bore ultimate responsibility for the violence.

In the 1999 ballot, East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence after 24 years of Indonesian rule.

U.N. officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the penalties the indicted men face, but that may be a moot issue as Indonesia has generally been reluctant to let its nationals be tried in East Timor.

Indonesian Justice Ministry spokesman R.H. Tjapa told Reuters the government had received no request from East Timor regarding the indictments, but added: "We don't have (an extradition) agreement with East Timor, therefore, we would not extradite them."

Many Indonesians feel East Timor should have stayed part of the country and sympathised with the army effort to hold onto it.


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