Subject: JP: Habibie to see TFC in private

The Jakarta Post

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Habibie to see CTF in private

M. Taufiqurrahman , The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite its commitment to uphold transparency, the joint Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) will hear the testimony from former president B.J. Habibie in a closed-door session.

Commission co-chairman Benjamin Mangkoedilaga of Indonesia said that the CTF had agreed to listen to Habibie's account of the 1999 referendum in a closed-door session, bowing to a request from the former president.

"The Commission's standing orders allow us to hear the testimony in a closed-door session," Benjamin told a media conference Saturday.

The session to hear Habibie's testimony will be held at the office of his think tank, the Habibie Center, in Kemang, South Jakarta, rather than Crowne Plaza Hotel where the hearings of retired military generals and other key figures in the East Timor violence are expected to be held.

Habibie's session is scheduled for Tuesday.

The CTF will conduct this second phase of hearings between Monday and Friday to hear testimonies from top Indonesian decision makers at the time of the tragedy. The commission will also hear from key figures in the then East Timor province.

On Monday, the commission will hear the testimony of former head of the East Timor Catholic Church Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo.

On the third day of the hearings, the CTF is expected to hear testimonies from the leader of the pro-Indonesia militia Eurico Guterres and Maj. Gen. Zacky Anwar Makarim who was an Indonesian Military official serving as a liaison officer to the United Nations Mission for East Timor (UNAMET).

Other key figures including Maj. Gen. Suhartono Suratman, the former chief of the Dili military command, will appear on Thursday while Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, the former chief of the Udayana Military Command, will attend a hearing Friday.

Other than the key figures, a number of witnesses and victims of the violence that took place in the aftermath of the 1999 referendum in East Timor will also give testimonies.

The CTF also invited a number of UNAMET officials including the agency's former chief Sir Ian Martin, but none were available during the designated dates.

Former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Wiranto will not attend the session and is expected to testify during the third session of hearings in April.

"Wiranto has repeatedly expressed his intention to come, but we have agreed to hear his testimony in the third session," Benjamin said.

Benjamin also said that the TNI would assist in the commission's probe.

"The TNI chief himself said that he would provide important documents relating to the UN-sponsored referendum and would locate active and retired military personnel involved," Benjamin said.

Commission member Jacinto Alves of Timor Leste said the new government to be formed following the presidential election would continue to back the CTF in spite of its amiable stance on Indonesia.

"We have learnt that a confrontational stance toward our neighbors will yield us nothing," he said.

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