Subject: LUSA: Jakarta prosecutors seek 10-year sentence for Indonesian general

14-04-2003 12:52:00. Notícia nº SIR-4919986

East Timor: Jakarta prosecutors seek 10-year sentence for Indonesian general

Jakarta, Apil 14 (Lusa) - Indonesian prosecutors demanded a 10- year prison sentence Monday for General Tono Suratman, the former commander of Indonesia's forces in East Timor, for having permitted crimes against humanity during the territory's 1999 independence plebiscite.

Prosecutors told a special court in Jakarta that Gen. Suratman "did nothing to stop attacks" that took the lives of independence supporters and "did not protect society" from rampages by pro- Indonesia militias.

During the trial, which resumes April 23, the general denied any wrongdoing in the wave of violence that left more than 1,000 East Timorese dead, provoked the flight of 250,000 people and destroyed some 75 percent of the country's infrastructures.

Gen. Suratman is one of 18 Indonesian officers and officials who were charged with crimes against humanity committed in East Timor in 1999.

Eleven have been acquitted.

Five have received lesser sentences and remain free on appeals.

Human rights activists charge that the Jakarta trials are a farce devised to defuse international pressure for the creation of a UN war crimes tribunal, along the lines of those established in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Dili has begun its own trials of atrocities committed in 1999 with the attorney general's office having indicted nearly 250 people, including Indonesia's former defense minister and military chief, General Wiranto.

Jakarta has said it would not honor arrest warrants and extradition requests from East Timor, insisting Dili was overstepping its jurisdiction.


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