Subject: AFP: E. Timor appoints more prosecutors to seek justice for 1999 crimes

Agence France Presse July 8, 2003

East Timor appoints more prosecutors to seek justice for 1999 crimes

DILI - Authorities in East Timor said Tuesday they had sworn in more international prosecutors to seek justice for atrocities committed during the bloody 1999 breakaway from Indonesia.

Three prosecutors from Norway, Poland and Kenya took oath before the Special Panels for Serious Crimes which handles such cases, the United Nations-funded Serious Crimes Unit said in a statement.

East Timor's Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro said the move was a significant step towards justice for the crimes committed before, during and after a UN-held independence poll.

He said it showed his office's commitment to bring those responsible to justice.

Pro-Indonesian militias waged a campaign of intimidation before the poll and a scorched-earth revenge campaign afterwards. At least 1,000 people are estimated to have died and whole towns were burnt to the ground.

The East Timor prosecutors and other groups say Indonesia's armed forces colluded with militias in the terror campaign.

A total of 32 people have been convicted over the 1999 violence since trials in East Timor began in January 2001. More than 35 indicted people are awaiting trial in East Timor with more suspects under investigation.

Another 170 indicted people including many senior army officers remain at large in Indonesia, which has refused to hand anyone over to East Timor for trial.

Jakarta set up its own human rights court to deflect pressure for an international tribunal but rights groups describe it as a sham.

The rights court has acquitted 11 security force members and one civilian. Five people have been ordered jailed but remain free pending appeals.

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