Subject: JP: Legal action taken over rights abuses in East Timor: Hassan

The Jakarta Post, 29 September 2004

Legal action taken over rights abuses in East Timor: Hassan

NEW YORK (Antara): The Indonesian government, under President Megawati Soekarnoputri, has taken legal action against the alleged perpetrators of human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said here on Tuesday.

"Indonesia's Mutual Cooperation Cabinet has already taken legal action. I do not know how the next government will see this case after Oct. 20," he said after his meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the UN's59th general assembly.

A number of UN member countries have continued to question rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by Indonesian troops during the self-determination ballot in East Timor five years ago.

The Megawati government, whose term ends on Oct. 20, has punished two people, including former East Timor governor Abilio Osorio Soares, for allegedly violating human rights in the former Indonesian province.

New Zealand and the United States, as well as the European Union, have expressed concern over the decision of the ad hoc court on rights abuses in East Timor to acquit several Indonesian Military officers.

Hassan said the government had rejected a UN commission set up last March to deal with rights abuses in East Timor.

"We want the cases to be settled by Indonesia, together with East Timor," he said.

East Timorese Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta said recently his country does not support foreign intervention, such as the setting up of an international court to try the rights abuses.

He said his country is giving priority to good ties and mutual cooperation with Indonesia.

In the meeting with Annan, Hassan conveyed Megawati's gratitude to the UN secretary-general for UN assistance, including that channeled for the holding of this year's elections in Indonesia. (**)

Francisco da Costa Guterres Fellow in Law and Politics Timor Institute of Development Studies (TIDS)/ETSG Dili, East Timor Ph. +670 723 9876; Dept. of International Business and Asian Studies Griffith Business School Griffith University QLD 4111 Australia + 61 (0) 409 353 363

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