Subject: Timor truth & friendship commission to question Indonesian generals over 1999 violence

Timor truth commission to question Indonesian generals over 1999 violence

JAKARTA, November 30 (AFP) -- A joint Indonesia-East Timor commission plans to question former Indonesian military chief Wiranto and other officers over the violence surrounding East Timor's independence vote in 1999, a commissioner said Thursday.

"It has been decided that starting in January 2007, the commission will begin to 'invite' concerned parties, including Mr. Wiranto," Ahmad Ali, an Indonesian law expert and member of the Commission of Truth and Friendship, told AFP.

He said that before questioning the former general, who headed the Indonesian armed forces during the East Timor violence, the commission would first question some senior officers who served under him.

"We have yet not decided on the names," Ali said, adding that they would be officers with knowledge of what occurred during the small nation's 1999 independence vote.

The body was set up in August last year and is to probe past events to establish the truth about the violence during that turbulent time.

The truth commission, comprised of five Indonesians and five East Timorese, is not a judicial body and will submit its findings to both governments.

Modelled along lines similar to South Africa's post- apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it aims at reconciliation rather than recrimination.

Militia gangs, which the United Nations has said were recruited and directed by Indonesia's military, went on an arson and killing spree before and after the East Timorese voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot.

They killed about 1,400 people and laid waste to much of the infrastructure in the half-island, which was a Portuguese colony before Indonesia invaded it in 1975.

An Indonesian rights court set up to try military officers and officials for atrocities in East Timor was widely condemned as a sham for failing to jail any Indonesians.

A militia leader, Eurico Guterres, is the sole person serving a jail term for his role.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

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