Subject: FT: Indon rights inquiry wants to interview Wiranto

Financial Times Tuesday November 23 1999

E TIMOR: Indonesian inquiry wants to interview Wiranto

By Diarmid O'Sullivan in Jakarta

An independent Indonesian inquiry into mass violence in East Timor this year has said it wants to question General Wiranto, the country's former armed forces commander, and other senior officers.

Todung Mulya Lubis, a reformist lawyer who heads the inquiry, said there was strong evidence that the Indonesian army had worked with the Timorese militias that terrorised civilians for months in a vain attempt to prevent the territory opting for independence.

"It wouldn't be possible for the militia to operate alone without being aided by elements of the (army) and police in the earth-scorching, shootings, intimidations and killings," Mr Lubis said. Inquiry members said they wanted to question Gen Wiranto, who has been made the co-ordinating minister for politics and security by the new administration of President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Also on their list were three major-generals, Zaki Anwar Makarim, Syafrie Syamsuddin and Adam Damiri. Western diplomats believe that the three played a key role in creating and running the East Timorese militias. Indonesian troops also took part in the violence. The death toll is already known to be in the hundreds and could turn out to be in the thousands. Gen Wiranto has promised that the army will allow the trial of officers for past abuses in Aceh, another rebellious region.

Western diplomats in Jakarta said they thought the government had set up the inquiry to stave off pressure to co-operate with an international investigation. Its members seemed sincere about investigating atrocities, they added, though less because of East Timor than because they want to control the army's powers throughout Indonesia by creating a human rights court. However, there are unlikely to be convictions of senior officers unless the army agrees, the diplomats said.


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