Subject: RI, E. Timor set to discuss rights abuse acquittals
The Jakarta Post Saturday, August 14, 2004
Update: RI, E. Timor set to discuss rights abuse acquittals
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The foreign ministers of Indonesia and East Timor are likely to discuss matters related to the 1999 human rights violations in East Timor, including the possible establishment of a commission of experts, when the two meet in Bali on Sunday.
Foreign minister Hassan Wirayuda said that both Indonesia and East Timor rejected any such commission.
"Minister Horta (East Timorese foreign minister Ramos-Horta) himself has said that he rejects the idea of UN setting up such a commission," Hassan said on Friday.
International human rights organizations have demanded that the United Nations create an International Commission of Experts to review the work of the ad hoc Human Rights Tribunal in Indonesia and the UN-established Serious Crimes process in East Timor.
Hassan brushed aside the idea of the UN setting up a commission, saying it was too early to react as the judicial process concerning alleged human rights abuses in East Timor was still under way.
In a separate development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Marty Natalegawa said the two ministers would mainly discuss issues of mutual concern and human rights violations in East Timor.
Marty said the possibility of the UN setting up a commission could worsen relations between Indonesia and East Timor.
He said not even the Indonesian and East Timorese governments could intervene in the judicial process of the ad hoc human rights tribunal.
"If we accept the UN idea, it would set a precedent that the UN can place itself in a position to evaluate the judicial process of a sovereign country," he said.
International human rights and justice organizations recently sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June to express appreciation for the plan to establish the commission of experts to hold those accountable for human rights abuses in the world's youngest state. However, to date the UN has made no announcement concerning the establishment of a commission.
The issue gained currency following the acquittals of Indonesian Army generals by the ad hoc human rights appellate court.
On June 29, the appeals court acquitted four military and police officers -- Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri (the former Udayana Military commander), Col. Noer Muis, Lt. Col. Sudarwo and Sr. Comr. Hulman Gultom -- of gross human rights abuses linked to atrocities that followed the separation of East Timor from Indonesia.
Since then, only two of the 18 tried for the abuses have been convicted: former governor Abilio Soares and pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres, both of whom are civilian and ethnic Timorese.
The verdicts also drew criticism from foreign countries, such as the United States and New Zealand.
RI TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH UN COMMISSION OF EXPERTS ON EAST TIMOR
August 13, 2004 11:45pm Antara
Jakarta, Aug 13 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government will decide what to do with a proposal to set up a United Nations commission of experts by a foreign country wishing for a review of an Indonesian court's ruling on the East Timor case which was reportedly causing disappointment to some foreign parties.
"We will take up the matter at a limited meeting with the relevant political and security authorities and decide what to do with the experts commission," acting Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs Hari Sabarno said after attending a Cabinet Meeting at the State Secretariat building here on Thursday.
Hari said he still did not have any idea on what the government would do about the proposed experts commission.
"Yes therefore we will have to discuss it first," he added.
The proposed formation of the UN commission of experts came to the surface as New Zealand planned to urge the UN to form an international tribunal to solve the human rights violations in East Timor.
New Zealand made this plan after it became disappointed over the Indonesian court's rulings of acquitting certain Indonesian police and military leaders.
A similar disappointment had also been aired by the United States, but the relevant Indonesian government authorities thought that there was no need to give a serious response to the countries' disappointment. Indonesia believed that court decisions must be respected.
Eighteen people, including military and police high-ranking officers, stood trial at a special court handling East Timor cases in Indonesia, but only two civilian figures had been convicted, namely former East Timor Governor Abilio Soares and integration leader Eurico Guterres.
BBC Monitoring International Reports
August 14, 2004
INDONESIAN CHIEF JUSTICE REJECTS INTERNATIONAL COURT FOR EAST TIMOR ABUSE CASES
Bandung: No reason exists to take cases of human rights abuse in East Timor to the International Court. Indonesia has already tried the cases in Indonesia.
"What else do we want to bring before an international tribunal?" said the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Prof Dr Bagir Manan, when asked by journalists on midday Friday (13 August) at a ceremony to inaugurate the Juvenile Court at the Bandung District Court on RE Martadinata Street in Bandung.
Bagir Manan said that Indonesia had tried the cases well. "But if someone wins, then there are calls that it must be dealt with by an international tribunal, what's that for?" Bagir said briefly.
Clearly, the Indonesian government, according to Bagir Manan, has already made a commitment to resolve cases of human rights abuse through an honest and open judicial process. (passage omitted)
Source: Detikcom web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 13 Aug 04
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