Subject: Military chief will "allow" questioning of generals over Timor violence

Military chief will "allow" questioning of generals over Timor violence

JAKARTA, Dec 23 (AFP) - The head of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) said Thursday the military had no objection to the questioning of several of its high-ranking generals by a state commission on violence in East Timor.

The state-backed Commission of Human Rights Abuses in East Timoris currently seeking to question a number of military and police leaders and former officials of the Indonesian administration in East Timor over the post-ballot violence in the territory in September.

Following a fact finding trip to the territory, the commission has indirectly accused several senior army officers of orchestrating and supporting the violence.

Asked in a press conference if he would allow his predecessor General Wiranto and five other active generals to be questioned by KPP HAM, military chief Admiral Widodo Adisucipto said "in principle, the summons could be issued."

"Any requests for clarification (from generals) can be basically made as long as they (the process of clarification) are done in a fair, objective and balanced manner" Adisucipto told a press conference at the military headquarters.

KPP HAM has summoned Wiranto, now coordinating minister for political and security affairs, five other generals and several top pro-integration militia leaders to answer questions over their "knowledge and involvement" in the September mayhem.

All of them failed Wednesday to appear for questioning despite summonses the commission claimed had been issued for that day.

Widodo added the military "appreciates and supports any effort to uphold law and human rights."

Pro-Indonesian militias, which the United Nations, the KPP HAM and other observers have said were backed by elements of the Indonesian army, went on an unchecked campaign of violence and destruction that left most towns devastated and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

Wiranto however has denied allegations the military orchestrated the violence in East Timor that followed the September 4 announcement of the pro-independence results of the UN-held ballot.

He said last Saturday the widespread violence was due to "a very spontaneous, very brutal emotional reaction from the pro-integration people after they heard of the overwhelming defeat."

Indonesia has objected to the setting up of a UN rights probe into the East Timor violence, saying it is capable of investigating allegations of atrocities and human rights abuses itself and will not be bound by the UN findings.

Commission head, Albert Hasibuan, added the body had called for Wiranto and five other generals "to appear at the latest by next week."

The UN panel is to report to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan before December 31 to enable him to decide on the necessary follow up, including whether an international war crimes tribunal was needed.

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