Subject: AP: E Timor indicts more Indonesian military officers

East Timor indicts more Indonesian military officers

July 11, 2003 8:27am Associated Press WorldStream

DILI, East Timor (AP) — East Timor has indicted 17 members of the Indonesian military along with 40 other suspects — mostly militiamen — for crimes stemming from the country's bloody break from Jakarta rule in 1999, state prosecutors said Friday.

The indictments, which were filed Thursday at the Dili District Court, bring to 296 the number of Indonesian security officials and local militia members charged over the 1999 violence, prosecutors at the country's Serious Crimes Unit said in a statement.

All those indicted on Thursday are believed to be in Indonesia, the statement said.

Indonesia is under no obligation to hand over the suspects, and has already said it will not respond to earlier indictments.

Four of those indicted on Thursday are Indonesian officers, one is an army intelligence agent and 12 are East Timorese noncommissioned officers. A local police chief, a district head and more than 30 militia members were also charged, the statement said.

They are accused of ``crimes against humanity including murder, attempted murder, torture and persecution committed against the civilian population of Bobonaro District between May and September 1999,' the statement said. Bobonaro borders the Indonesian province of West Timor.

Violence surrounding the U.N.-sponsored independence vote left up to 1,500 East Timorese dead and most of the country destroyed.

Witnesses said Indonesia's military organized much of bloodshed through militia proxies it created to intimidate independence supporters.

Under international pressure to punish those responsible for the violence, Indonesia last year agreed to try 18 senior police and military officials in a special human rights tribunal.

However, the court in Jakarta has so far acquitted 12 suspects and convicted five — all of whom are free pending appeals — leading to charges by rights activists that the trials were a sham.

East Timor's leaders have not aggressively pushed Indonesia for justice, saying good ties with their giant neighbor and former occupying power are more important.

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