Subject: Wiranto Reports: FM Shrugs Off Warrant [+Solahuddin: Don't
Dwell On Past]
The Jakarta Post Wednesday, May 12, 2004
FM Plays Down Arrest Warrant for Wiranto
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda and several members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday shrugged off the United Nations-backed East Timorese court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for former Indonesian Military chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto after charging him with crimes against humanity.
"It (the warrant) has no international jurisdiction, including on Indonesia. So why we should make a fuss about it," Hassan said during a hearing with House Commission I, which oversees security and foreign affairs here.
Hassan said he had not yet received the official letter from East Timor about the arrest warrant.
The UN-backed court on Monday issued the arrest warrant for Wiranto, who is also the Golkar Party's presidential candidate, for his alleged crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999 when the Timorese voted to reject autonomy and eventually become independent.
The foreign minister also said that the East Timor Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), which indicted Wiranto last year and sought the arrest warrant, was not established by the United Nations.
According to him, the SCU may issue a 1,000 warrants but they would not affect Indonesian citizens.
Effendi Choirie, a House member from the National Awakening Party (PKB), called on the government to reject any warrant that would bring any Indonesians to a foreign court.
"Wiranto is an Indonesian citizen, and if he makes a mistake he must be tried in Indonesia," he argued.
Another legislator Maj. Gen. (ret) Sidharto Danusubroto said that the government should study carefully all the legal consequences over the issuance of the warrant as "East Timor was once Indonesian territory".
"The SCU may argue that during the alleged crimes, East Timor was an Indonesian province," Sidharto said.
Meanwhile in Dili, East Timor's prosecutor general lashed out on Tuesday at "his men" who issued an arrest warrant for Wiranto and demanded changes in the approach to the case.
Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro filed a court motion for a "revision" of the case against Wiranto, AFP reported on Tuesday from Dili.
"I regret that arrest warrant," Monteiro told a press conference. "My men have opened fire without an order from me," he said, implying that subordinates acted without authorization.
Montero also reportedly said his trust in the United Nations and in the court's international staff had diminished.
It was not immediately clear how this would affect the case against Wiranto, who is one of the leading candidates for Indonesia's presidency.
According to Reuters, some top East Timorese officials have suggested they are more interested in pursuing stronger economic and political ties with giant neighbor Indonesia than cases involving the tiny territory's bloody break from Jakarta in 1999.
sidebar: Human Rights Cases Linked to Wiranto
Case Date Casualties Notes
- Trisakti shooting; May 12, 1998; four; was questioned - May riots; May 13-15, 1998; hundreds; as witness - Semanggi I incident; November, 1998; 13; by the fact - Semanggi II incident; September, 1999; eight; finding team - East Timor riot; September, 1999; hundreds [no notes]
Source: The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Solahuddin Defends Wiranto's Credentials
M. Taufiqurrahman and Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta
"If you can't beat them, join them" seems to be Solahuddin Wahid's motto.
Only two years ago, Solahuddin tried hard and failed to question several military officers, including Gen. Wiranto, over gross human rights violations in the Trisakti and Semanggi I and II shooting incidents.
On Tuesday, however, the prominent rights campaigner publicly declared his alliance with Wiranto, claiming that they had the same vision, mission and commitment even in law enforcement.
"We have the same commitment to bringing about a just and prosperous Indonesia," Solahuddin said when announcing his vice presidential bid under Golkar, which has chosen Wiranto as its flag bearer in the July 5 presidential election.
To justify his decision, Solahuddin called on the public to come to terms with the past and not to dwell on its bitter legacy.
"We need to be wiser in looking into the past. The time is right to turn vengeance into forgiveness and by revealing the truth... we hope that human rights abuse will not recur in the future," he said to the thunderous applause from hundreds of guests in attendance.
Solahuddin, who is also known as Gus Solah, said that in the next few days he would hold talks with a number of non-governmental organizations and victims of human rights abuse to explain his decision to team up with Wiranto.
"After completing the presidential registration with the General Elections Commission, I will pay them a visit. This is part of my accountability to the public," said Gus Solah, a deputy chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
He declined to name which victims of rights abuses he would meet, but he said that it would include families of those who had perished in the May 1998 riots and those of students who died in the Semanggi and Trisakti shooting incidents. All occurred when Wiranto led the Indonesian Military (TNI) and was minister of defense.
Salahuddin also said on Tuesday that he had officially relinquished his position in Komnas HAM.
Solahuddin led in 2002 a Komnas HAM team investigating the May 1998 riots. His team tried very hard to subpoena several key military officers, including Wiranto, but was unable to do so as they ignored the summons.
Apart from the riots, Wiranto was also held responsible for the bloody mayhem that engulfed East Timor following a referendum in which most voted to separate from Indonesia after 22 years of oppression.
A United Nations-sponsored East Timor tribunal issued an arrest warrant on Monday for Wiranto for his alleged crimes against humanity that took place before and after the territory's breakaway from Indonesia.
Wiranto said on Tuesday that the arrest warrant was the latest effort in a smear campaign, involving certain parties in the country, to thwart his presidential bid.
"This is nothing new. I have been accused of committing almost the worst of all crimes, from human rights violations, money counterfeiting to involvement in a bank scandal," he told reporters.
Wiranto's bid for the presidency took a blow on Tuesday with the resignation of renowned political analyst Andi Alfian Mallarangeng from the United Democratic Nationhood Party (PPDK) central board.
He was disappointed by the party's decision to support Wiranto's candidacy. "Wiranto is part of the country's troubled past and I don't want to have a future leader who will be preoccupied with efforts to clear his name," Andi said.
Andi, however, appreciated the decision as it was made in a legitimate decision-making process.
Party leader Ryaas Rasyid defended his party's stance on Wiranto, saying that the Golkar Party candidate had the strongest chance of winning the presidential election.
"Based on our forecast, we believe that only Megawati and Wiranto will contest the second round of the presidential election on Sept. 20. But since PPDK is committed to the reform movement, it is impossible to support Megawati," Ryaas said.
Tempo May 11 - 17, 2004
Losing Hasyim, Courting Sholahuddin
Failing to win Hasyim Muzadi, Wiranto has courted Sholahuddin Wahid.
IT is pretty hard to hide an anxious face. Though he gave frequent smiles to everyone attending the executive meeting of the Golkar Party on Wednesday evening last week, Gen. (ret) Wiranto still looked uneasy.
Wiranto was racing against time. The deadline for the registration of the presidential candidates was nearing, while the Golkar presidential nominee had not found his running mate yet. In fact, as a victorious party, Golkar should have no trouble in getting one.
What happened was quite the opposite. The Golkar Party's approach to the General Chairman of the Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Hasyim Muzadi, for his readiness to be paired with Wiranto was turned down by Hasyim. The Malang, East Java-born leader had made a "commitment" to Megawati Sukarnoputri, General Chair of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). After losing Hasyim, Wiranto promptly eyed Sholahuddin Wahid, NU's Central Board Chairman, as his running mate.
The Wiranto-Sholahuddin pair was announced in the Golkar executive meeting at the Peninsula Hotel, last Wednesday. Besides Sholahuddin, Chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), Hamzah Haz, was also mentioned as the other candidate.
Naturally, only one will later be chosen. And Gus Sholah, the affectionate name of the Vice Chairman of the Human Rights National Commission, ranks first in terms of ancestry, origin and "weight". The youngest of six children of K.H. Wahid Hasyim, ex-Minister of Religious Affairs, and Hj. Sholihah, is seen as a nobleman for being the grandson of K.H. Hasyim Asy'ari, NU's founder. This lineage is believed to be capable of absorbing the votes of NU affiliates within NU, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and other parties. Sholah is expected to become a serious rival to Hasyim and Mega.
If the vote gains of both parties are calculated, in Golkar chief Akbar's prediction, the NU Central Board Chairman can also strengthen the coalition designed between Golkar and PKB either in the government, or in the House of Representatives (DPR). "If elected, a strong and effective government will be created," said Akbar Tandjung. Apart from PKB, the coalition structure will also involve PPP.
Actually, Sholahuddin had been on Golkar's list of vice-presidential candidates, but Gus Sholah was less popular than Hasyim Muzadi.
He emerged as an important figure as K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid-Chairman of PKB's Advisory Council and Sholah's elder brother-rejected the request of Wiranto and Akbar to give consent to Hasyim's candidacy. Hasyim later teamed up with Mega. Both facts immediately changed the reckoning of Golkar.
Finally, the mobile phone of Gus Sholah rang at 10pm on Friday two weeks ago. At the other end was the voice of K.H. Abdullah Faqih, one of NU's clerics. "Sholah, you'll be asked to pair up with Wiranto as his running mate," said Faqih. They talked only for a short moment and when it was over, Wiranto made a call. "Mr. W"-as Wiranto is often dubbed-expressed his intention to make a visit that evening. Two hours later Wiranto conveyed his request for Sholah to join him. "This was decided by the Golkar Central Board meeting," said Wiranto.
More than that, Golkar on the following day sent three delegates: Fahmi Idris, Abdul Gafur, and Irsyad Sudiro. They officially made a proposal for Sholah's vice-presidential candidacy. But the request carried a condition: Sholah had to ask for Gus Dur's consent, meaning that he would have to bring PKB's voice. It is a fairly tough requirement, considering Sholah's position outside the PKB board, because an NU executive is not allowed to join a political party.
In order not to repeat Hasyim Muzadi's failure in securing the blessing of Gus Dur, Sholahuddin went to see his brother. Accompanied by his brother, Umar Wahid, Sholah sought Gus Dur's permission. "OK, you may go with Wiranto. But I don't support you," said Gus Dur as quoted by Sholahuddin. As to PKB's support, Sholah was asked to directly contact the PKB team of nine-a team dealing with selecting the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the nine-star party.
Sholah's move was not readily smooth because Gus Dur himself intended to join the presidential race. That was why Gus Dur requested a judicial review of the decrees of the General Elections Commission (KPU) Nos. 26 and 31/2004 on the spiritual and physical health requirements for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. But the request was rejected by the Supreme Court and Gus Dur still attempted to "negotiate" the decision with Supreme Court Chief Justice Bagir Manan. "PKB will adopt its stance after Gus Dur's meeting with Bagir Manan," said PKB Chairman Mahfud Md.
Sholah informed Akbar and Wiranto of this development when they met at the official residence of the DPR Speaker at Widya Chandra Complex, South Jakarta. "At that time, I described the plan for a coalition with Golkar and my stand. It's impossible for me to do or say anything before further decision is made," Sholah indicated.
Last Tuesday evening, one day before the Golkar executive session, PKB's team of nine met with the banyan-tree party's team. They agreed to pledge a coalition in the DPR. According to a Golkar key official, the meeting also discussed the "dowry" to be given if Sholah is elected vice president. Among others was the portfolio of VP's role. "It's particularly the vice president's involvement in appointing the National Police chief and other processes of law enforcement," he said.
Anticipating a stalled settlement with PKB, Golkar made a zigzag move. While courting Sholah and PKB, the teams of Wiranto and Golkar actively approached Hamzah Haz. Last Tuesday evening, Wiranto visited Hamzah Haz. As revealed by the Golkar official, this meeting also offered an alliance between Golkar, PKB and PPP in the government and DPR. "It includes the position of DPR Speaker if Hamzah is not picked as the vice president," said the source.
But Hamzah was not ready to decide. According to Lukman Hakim Saefuddin, a member of PPP's success team, it was because PPP still clung to its first option to nominate Hamzah for the presidency with the support of coalition of smaller parties. "Many want Hamzah to run for president himself," said Lukman.
An alternative alliance with a number of minor parties is now under PPP's examination. Uniquely, PKB also joins the alliance. Moreover, Bagir Manan recently stated that he had no way of changing the Supreme Court decision to grant PKB's judicial review request. But there was no clear indication of Hamzah's running mate yet. "Everything is being discussed," added Lukman.
With such developments, what about the chance of the Sholah-Wiranto duo? PKB Chairman Mahfud Md. admitted that Sholah indeed became one option besides four others. The other four being considered by PKB are: PKB in the opposition role, PKB giving its members freedom to choose, PKB nominating a vice president with other parties, and PKB supporting a candidate from other parties. All should have been resolved last Sunday with a number of clerics. "In short, we don't want to hold Golkar hostage," Mahfud said.
But Golkar is aware that the maneuver will be even more dangerous in the last minutes before the presidency deadline on May 12. For this reason, though actively moving here and there, the banyan-tree party is also preparing another option, which is to find a vice-presidential candidate from within the organization.
Who will that be? It is not easy to answer. The names appearing in several meetings included Aburizal Bakrie, Marwah Daud Ibrahim, Tuty Alawiyah, and Akbar Tandjung himself. Akbar said, however, "I refuse my nomination as vice president."
Political moves can change with the passing days, even minutes and seconds. Golkar, PKB and PPP are now in a tight race to reach the May 12 finish line.
Widiarsi Agustina, Thonthowi Djauhari (TNR
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