Subject: JP: No more safe haven for Wiranto

also: Dili indictment based on command responsibility

The Jakarta Post February 27, 2003

No more safe haven for Wiranto

The failure of Indonesia's rights tribunal to bow to international demands for the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses in East Timor has prompted the indictment of several high-ranking officers, including former military chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto, observers said.

Munir, a cofounder of the National Commission for Missing Person and Victims of Violence, said East Timor's indictment of the seven military generals and the then East Timor governor was the result of the dissatisfaction with Indonesia's failure to bring to justice all those responsible for crimes against humanity before and after the August 1999 UN-sponsored referendum in the former Indonesian province.

He said the ad hoc rights tribunal set up by Indonesia to try those accused of abuses in East Timor should have handed down prison terms of at least 10 years for the perpetrators, as mandated by Law No. 26/2000 on ad hoc human rights tribunals.

Hikmahanto Juwana, an international law expert from the University of Indonesia, said the indictment meant the seven officers and the former governor faced the possibility of arrest and extradition to East Timor should they travel outside of Indonesia.

"Wiranto and the other seven men could be arrested by Interpol if they travel overseas. They would then face extradition to East Timor if the country where they were arrested had an extradition agreement with the former Indonesian territory," Hikmahanto said.

Both Hikmahanto and Munir said the indictment did not violate the principle of nebis en idem, or double jeopardy, should "East Timor consider the ongoing trials in Jakarta to be unwilling and unable to bring these perpetrators to justice".

In Kuala Lumpur, President Megawati Soekarnoputri said Indonesia was not obliged to send Wiranto to East Timor because the countries did not have an extradition treaty.

"We have to be very careful in responding to such demands. So far the government has yet to receive any official request from them (East Timor)," the President said on Wednesday during a press conference in Malaysia, where she was attending the recently concluded Non-Aligned Movement summit.

"We also have to see whether such a request is legally possible as we do not have any arrangements to send our citizens to stand trial there (in East Timor)," the President said.

Megawati said she met with East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao on the sidelines of the summit and "he did not mention anything about any request to arrest Indonesian officials. We only discussed how we could improve our relations as neighbors".

Those indicted besides Wiranto were 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 former governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares.

Late on Wednesday, Wiranto held a press conference to pronounce his innocence and say he did everything in his power to prevent the violence in East Timor before, during and after the 1999 ballot by promoting reconciliation between pro-Jakarta and proindependence groups.


The Jakarta Post February 27, 2003

Dili indictment based on command responsibility

Nug Katjasungkana, Contributor, Dili

On Tuesday, the Dili-based Office of the Prosecutor General of Timor Leste issued an indictment of former military commander Gen. (ret) Wiranto and six other officers who served in East Timor, as well as former governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares, of crimes against humanity. The following are excerpts of an interview with the Prosecutor of the Serious Crimes Unit, Stuart Alford.

Question: What evidence do you have of the link between the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the militia in East Timor in 1999?

Answer: Militias were part of TNI's ability to commit violent acts. The evidence we have collected shows quite clearly that TNI was in control, in effective control, over the militia groups. That evidence comes from witness statements -- 1,500 witness statements -- which support the conclusions we've reached.

We believe evidence from witnesses who were here -- some from people here, the militia, TNI personnel, civilian authorities -- leads to the conclusions in the indictment. Nothing in the indictment is speculative...We based the charges on the evidence we have collected and can prove them in court against the men charged.

We have identified seven of the eight men -- except Wiranto -- as playing a part in forming and establishing the militia by the issuing of instructions -- particularly to subordinate TNI officers -- giving money for weapons, or by their verbal support and cooperation which, given the intent of the militia groups, clearly demonstrate that the support of the TNI hierarchy was important -- they knew the militia could commit these crimes without being punished. The evidence is clear they were not punished.

How does Wiranto's responsibility differ from the others'?

Wiranto is the only man in this indictment against whom we don't have evidence of personal participation, by which I mean we don't have evidence of the things he said or orders he gave, which directly led to the establishment of militias.

But throughout the whole period, he had command authority over all of the men charged, apart from Soares, and all TNI personnel who were here in 1999. During that period, it is clear that not only men in command, but all ranks and levels of TNI soldiers, were involved in crimes. Some of these are the men at the end of the chain of command using knives and weapons to kill people, but nonetheless these were men under Wiranto's command.

It goes further: Wiranto had command responsibility, but because of the relationship between TNI and the militia groups, he ultimately had control over militia groups as well, because the militia groups were controlled by TNI subordinates.

Wiranto was repeatedly told by the press, members of the international community, and East Timorese leaders that TNI soldiers and militia groups were committing crimes throughout East Timor.

We use the long and growing history of command responsibility -- arguments developed at trials in the Hague, in Rwanda, after World War II in Japan and the Nuremberg trials in Germany. This is one in a long line of cases, the most recent of which is the (Slobodan) Milosevic trial in the Hague (on war crimes in Bosnia).

Cooperation from Indonesia would be needed to take these people to court. What if Indonesia does not want to deliver them to Timor Leste?

We believe that the process in East Timor against these eight men is getting as far as we can take it. We have investigated, analyzed the evidence, filed the indictment with the Dili District Court and arrest warrants are in process and will be issued soon. Once obtained, they will be sent to the Attorney General in Indonesia, and also lodged and filed with Interpol, which means that any other Interpol country has the obligation to enforce the arrest warrants.

We believe it will require something outside of East Timor to bring these men to court in East Timor -- Interpol or international or diplomatic pressure, or pressure from organizations and individual countries to see that something is done.


Back to February menu
January

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/