Subject: RT: East Timor Indicts 18 for Crimes Against Humanity

East Timor Indicts 18 for Crimes Against Humanity

Fri Sep 26, 2:56 AM ET

JAKARTA (Reuters) - East Timor (news - web sites) prosecutors have indicted 18 people for crimes against humanity, including two Indonesian military officers, in connection with violence surrounding its 1999 vote for independence.

The tiny country's serious crimes unit said on Friday the 18 were indicted for crimes ranging from murder to torture and persecution.

As well as the two Indonesian officers, those indicted include four East Timorese who were Indonesian soldiers at the time of the vote to break away from Indonesia, the unit said in a statement.

According to the United Nations (news - web sites) about 1,000 people were killed before and after the U.N.-supervised vote in August 1999, in which the people of the former Portuguese colony voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence.

Pro-Jakarta militias, with support from sections of the Indonesian military, were blamed for most of the violence.

Twelve former militia members were among those indicted.

All of the accused are believed to be at large in Indonesia, which has refused to send anyone accused by East Timor courts of human rights violations back to East Timor to face charges.

East Timorese law does not allow people to be tried in absentia.

Indonesian officials say they have no agreement to extradite the accused. Indonesia has instead set up courts in Indonesia to deal with human rights charges over East Timor.

But rights groups have criticized the Indonesian tribunals for considering charges against less than 20 people, and convicting only a handful of them.

East Timor, which became independent in 2002 after a U.N.-administered transition period, has filed 75 indictments against 333 people. Thirty-five have been convicted.

The serious crimes unit said 246 of the accused are at large in Indonesia.

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