Generals Reject Findings, Considering Lawsuit
February 1, 2000
Generals implicated in ETimor violence reject findings, considering lawsuit
JAKARTA (AFX-ASIA) - Lawyers for six Indonesian generals implicated in the violence following the East Timor independence vote said they reject the human rights commission's findings and may file a defamation suit on behalf of their clients.
"The legal team for the TNI (armed forces) officers strongly protests the announcement and the disclosure to the public names of TNI officers in the report and the announcement of the findings by Komnas HAM," the lawyers said in a news conference, referring to the Indonesian name of the National Commission on Human Rights.
Asked what action they would take, the defence team coordinator, former justice minister Muladi, said he and rest of the lawyers may recommend a defamation suit to their clients.
"If I were Wiranto, I must have felt (defamed), because he has received unfair treatment.... we are going to consider (a lawsuit) in a meeeting this evening," Muladi said.
The report held Wiranto "morally responsible" by omission for "creating an atmosphere that supported crimes against humanity."
The crimes, according to Komnas-HAM chief Djoko Sugianto included "mass torture, kidnapping and violence against women."
In their news conference, the six lawyers said the report did not "meet the standards of investigation based on the (country's) criminal code."
"None of the witnesses' testimonies or evidence detailed in the recommendation supports the accusations levelled against the officers," they said.
In their statement, signed by Adnan Buyuing Nasution, the lawyers said the defence had the "strong impression" that the human rights commission prematurely cited the findings of the investigators without adequately discussing and analysing them.
"They have not only violated legal principles but also blatantly breached the priciples of a law-based state."
Saying that the investigating team had overstepped its authority, which had been only to determine if human rights abuses had taken place after the Aug 30 ballot in East Timor, the team said it had no right to release the names publicly.
"The disclosure of officers' names suspected of human rights abuses cannot be justified because it violates universal legal principles applied in all states based on the rule of law."
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