Subject: AP: Appeals over acquitted Timor suspects to be filed next month, court says

Also: Appeal justices sworn in

Associated Press

Appeals over acquitted East Timor suspects to be filed next month, court says

Mon Mar 17, 4:15 AM ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Prosecutors plan to soon appeal a string of verdicts acquitting Indonesian police and military officers accused over the violence that swept East Timor (news - web sites) during its break from Indonesia in 1999, a court spokesman said Monday.

Critics say the acquittals by a human rights court in Jakarta of six military officers, three policemen and two former East Timor government servants on charges of crimes against humanity show that Indonesia is not serious about seeking justice.

The 11 are among 18 officials on trial over a campaign of terror by Indonesian troops and their militia proxies aimed at forcing people to vote for continued union with Jakarta. Nearly 2,000 civilians were believed killed.

Only five defendants have been convicted of prison terms ranging from three to 10 years. They all remain free pending appeals of their cases. The trials of two military generals are ongoing.

"All the prosecutors dealing with those acquitted have submitted their appeals to the court," said Judge Andi Samsan Nganro, a spokesman for the Jakarta court.

"We are in the process of finalizing the dossiers, and hopefully we can file the appeals to the Supreme Court in April," he told The Associated Press.

Earlier Monday, Supreme Court chief Bagir Manan installed six judges to try the appeals.

Human rights activists have criticized the trials as a sham, saying they were convened in order to defuse an international drive to set up a U.N. war crimes trial for East Timor akin to those for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

In a sign of growing frustration with the legal process in Indonesia, East Timorese prosecutors indicted last month several senior generals, including then military chief Gen. Wiranto, over the violence. Jakarta said it would ignore that indictment.

East Timor gained full independence in May, after a period of transitional rule by the United Nations (news - web sites) following Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.

Jakarta Post March 18, 2003

Appeal justices sworn in

JAKARTA: Supreme Court Chief Bagir Manan swore in on Monday six appeal justices for the ad hoc human rights tribunal, to handle cases of human rights defendants acquitted in the lower courts.

The human rights tribunal has so far prosecuted 16 people for their roles in gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999, of which 11, mostly military and police officers, have been acquitted. Meanwhile, the trials of former East Timor military Commander Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman and former Udayana Military Commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri are still ongoing.

The six appeal judges, four of whom are academicians, are: Sumaryono Suryokusumo, Eddy Djunaedi Karnasudirdja, A. Masyhur Effendi, Ronald Zelfianus Titahelu, Sakir Ardiwinata, and Tomy Boestomi.

They were appointed by President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Feb. 24. --JP

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