The Jakarta Post
Friday, January 11, 2002
E. Timor's patience wears thin over rights tribunal
Tiarma Siboro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The East Timor transitional government is considering turning to an international tribunal due to the repeated delays in the trial of officers allegedly involved in the 1999 human rights abuses in the former territory.
Philipe Rodriguez of the East Timor Public Administration’s Department of Foreign Affairs said in Jakarta on Thursday that the East Timor people’s wish to see the perpetrators taken to the court of justice has not materialized.
Rodriguez said that East Timor has observed every development in the Indonesian government’s plan to bring the perpetrators to the ad hoc tribunal.
“We trust the Indonesian government to handle the case and see it as its domestic affair, believing that the trial would be fair.
“But we don’t see that Indonesia has truly the will to do it. If this situation persists, we want an international tribunal to take over the trial,” Rodriguez said in a seminar.
The government has established an ad hoc tribunal but the trial schedules have been repeatedly delayed because President Megawati Soekarnoputri has not yet approved the names of the judges which are already in her hand.
The names of the judges were proposed by the Supreme Court and the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM). In the latest promise, the trial would start on Jan. 15.
The seminar also featured Albert Hasibuan, former chairman of Komnas HAM team assigned to investigate the human rights violations following the 1999 referendum that led to East Timor’s independence.
Lawyer Adnan Buyung Nasution, who represents the Indonesian army generals allegedly involved in the rights abuses also spoke.
Rodriguez declined to say if East Timor had set any deadline before it turns to the UN to set up an international tribunal.
Albert said the commission concluded that more than 100 people from the military, police and civilians in fact deserved to be named as suspects.
Among the big names that the commission believes deserve to be declared suspects are (ret) Gen. Wiranto, former Udayana Military commander Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, and former Wiradharma Military Command chief Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman and Brig. Gen. A. Noer Muir, he said.
The commission cited the principle of chain of command when implicating Wiranto.
The Attorney General’s Office, however, cut the list of suspects to 23, arguing that “Wiranto was not directly involved in the riots”, Albert said.
The credibility of the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office was questioned after Wiranto was removed from the list of suspects. He was supposed to be the most important decision maker in the operation that led to the violation of human rights.
Albert Hasibuan said he believed that the delay was due to a political compromise between Megawati and “certain groups” in the military.
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BD: East Timor's Judicial System - A collection of recent reports, articles and news
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