|Subject: Suharto Afraid of Arrest/Dail Telegraph
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 16:18:58 +0000
From: "East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: ETISC
Source: The Daily Telegraph Date: 17th Augsust 1999
Suharto is wary after the arrest of Pinochet By Alex Spillius in Bangkok
International Commission of Jurists
Pinochet's arrest widens options for Suharto foes [30 Nov '98] - One World
INDONESIA'S ailing former leader, Suharto, has decided against seeking medical help abroad to avoid suffering the same fate as the former Chilean dictator Gen Pinochet.
When in power, Suharto routinely flew to Germany in one of his private jets for medical treatment. But according to sources close to his family and diplomats in Jakarta yesterday, Gen Pinochet's arrest in London while seeking treatment for back problems has made Suharto determined not to tempt fate, despite being free to travel.
Doctors are debating whether to operate on Suharto, who was admitted to a state hospital over the weekend suffering from bleeding in the stomach. Two weeks ago he was released from the same hospital after 10 days of treatment for a mild stroke.
The two aged former leaders - Suharto, at 78, is Gen Pinochet's junior by five years - are among a number of former and serving despots believed to be at risk of having to answer for human rights abuses before foreign courts.
When Suharto stood down last year after riots and protests swept Indonesia, he is understood to have received assurances that he would not be prosecuted at home for corruption or crimes against the people during his 32 years in power. He and his family still live in an exclusive central district of Jakarta.
Critics say that an official investigation into his family's billion-dollar fortune is a charade and it is far from certain that a new government to be formed this autumn would pursue him with greater alacrity. But in the current global climate, it is unlikely that Suharto would be spared abroad. A Western diplomat in Jakarta said Suharto had failed to receive assurances from Germany earlier this year that he would not be arrested if he went there.
Antonio Maria Pereira, the Portuguese representative of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, is preparing a case of crimes against humanity and torture in East Timor against Suharto, whose army invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed by the army or have died from disease and famine caused by its occupation. In 1991, dozens of civilians were massacred during a protest in Dili, the East Timorese capital.
Mr Pereira said that if efforts to persuade the Indonesians to press charges at home failed, then Suharto's extradition to Portugal could be sought either from Indonesia or, more probably, if he strayed overseas. Mr Pereira noted that if the former leader travelled to Germany "it would only be natural to seek Suharto's arrest, especially considering the precedent opened by Pinochet's case".
He said the case was strengthened by the fact that many East Timorese victims were theoretically Portuguese subjects because the United Nations had never ceased to recognise Portugal's sovereignty over the territory.
Human rights activists said efforts to implement international rule of law were starting to pay off. Virginia Shoppe of Amnesty International said: "The Pinochet case shows that awareness of human rights issues has increased, and that the implementation of international treaties and human rights standards is working."
When Gen Pinochet was plotting to overthrow Chile's democratic government in 1973, he was said to have been impressed by the ruthless suppression of Leftists during the mid-Sixties, inspired, if not carried out by, forces loyal to Suharto.
31 July 1999: Suharto leaves hospital 22 July 1999: Suharto suffers mild stroke 28 May 1999: Suharto backs cash inquiry 18 October 1998: Pinochet arrested at London hospital 22 May 1998: Indonesia celebrates end of an era as Suharto quits
East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign Suite 16, Dame House 24-26 Dame Street Dublin 2 Telephone 00 353 1 671 9207/ 677 0253 /623 3148 Mobile 087 286 0122 Fax 00 353 1 671 9207 Timorese Community in Ireland 00 353 1 453 1462 web http://indigo.ie/~etisc/ Offices in: Dublin Belfast Laois Galway Claremorris