Subject: JP: Ian Martin to Skip Timor Truth Session for Giving Amnesty to Rights Violators

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Key Figures to Skip Session of RI, Timor Leste Body

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) will start a new session Wednesday without the attendance of key figures in the 1999 referendum that resulted in East Timor's (Timor Leste) independence from Indonesia.

Among those who will skip the session are former head of the United Nations Mission for East Timor (UNAMET) Sir Ian Martin; general prosecutor for serious crimes Siri Frigraad; and pro-independence leaders such as Taur Matan Ruak of Falintil, the military wing of the Fretilin political party of East Timor, and Leandro Isaac of the political commission of the National Council for East Timorese Resistance (CNRT).

A CTF spokesperson said that Martin declined to attend the commission's third session, saying that he disapproved of the commission giving amnesty to those who allegedly perpetrated gross human rights violations.

"He (Martin) disapproved of the commission's terms of reference offering amnesty to perpetrators of human rights violations," commission member Wisber Loeis told a media conference Tuesday.

The CTF said that pro-independence leaders were preoccupied with the presidential poll that is currently taking place in Timor Leste.

Despite the absence of key figures from the 1999 referendum, the CTF's third phase of hearings will be attended by victims of the violence that occurred and Indonesian generals who oversaw military operations during the referendum.

Former chief of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and defense minister Gen. (ret) Wiranto, former East Timorese Police chief Insp. Gen. (ret) Timbul Silaen and former chief of Dili Military Command Maj. Gen. Noer Muis are among the key figures from security forces expected to attend the hearing.

The hearing will be held at the Borobudur Hotel in Central Jakarta between May 2 and 5. A total of 16 witnesses are expected to provide testimony.

The commission is expected to wrap up the inquiry by July 31, after which they will present recommendations to leaders of both countries.

In the last hearing, held in late March, the CTF heard testimony from the former head of the East Timorese Catholic Church, Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo; pro-Indonesia militia leader Eurico Guterres; former chief of the Udayana Military Command Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri; and former president B.J. Habibie.

Habibie told CTF members that former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan was at fault for making an early announcement of the referendum results.

The CTF responded to this by inviting Annan to offer his testimony in future hearings of the commission.

"We have sent an invitation to him," Wisber said.

Responding to criticism that there are too many figures from the Indonesian side, which will put the CTF's recommendations at risk, commission co-chairman Benjamin Mangkoedilaga of Indonesia said that members of the commission would maintain their impartiality.

"We will also hold sessions in places like Kupang and Dili to collect information from all sides," Benjamin said, referring to the capitals of East Nusa Tenggara and Timor Leste.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service


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