Subject: "600,000 witnesses ready to testify at tribunal" -Ramos Horta

Australian Broadcasting Corporation AM News Thursday, February 3, 2000 8:24 -transcript-

Ramos Horta prepared to testify to tribunal

PETER CAVE: East Timorese independence leader, Jose Ramos Horta says he's happy for the trials of the Indonesian Generals he believes were responsible for the atrocities carried out in his homeland to be tried in Indonesia.

Human rights groups have demanded that General Wiranto and five other generals named as responsible for crimes in East Timor be tried before an international tribunal.

Mr Ramos Horta is in Bangkok where he told Kate Gunn he would be prepared to personally appear as a witness.

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: I hope that they will stand trial and that if they are found guilty of war crimes against humanity they be punished accordingly. It could be good for Indonesia, for democracy in Indonesia, and for humanity.

KATE GUNN: Do you think that the Commission should take place or a trial should take place in Indonesia, or should it be an international trial?

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: It can take place in Indonesia. I have no objections to that. If the Indonesian republic is strong enough to bring to justice those responsible, accused of war crimes against humanity we must cooperate with that, we must fully support it, back them up a hundred per cent.

KATE GUNN: Do you think there'll be enough evidence against Wiranto?

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: Well in a court of law witnesses count. We have 600,000 witnesses who can testify to the responsibility of the TNI, the Indonesian Army - Wiranto and all the other officers named, we have 600,000 witnesses.

KATE GUNN: While there are witnesses against the atrocities on the ground can that go all the way to the top, is there the evidence to the top?

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: Madam, one of the Nuremberg principles going back to World War II is that leaders cannot escape their responsibility. Wiranto was Defence Minister. He was in charge, and we have abundant information, including his own words, saying that he could control the militias.

He told me in Jakarta [indistinct] he said, he boasted, I can disarm the militias within two days. Well he didn't. And we know the training of militias in West Timor, we know the financing of militias in West Timor. We know that a good deal of Indonesians themselves, civilian Indonesians from West Timor who pose as Timorese militias in East Timor . Well I am prepared, I'll be very glad, to appear in court to testify against General Wiranto.

PETER CAVE: Jose Ramos Horta.


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