Subject: SMH: Jakarta Moves To Prosecute Rights Abusers

Jakarta Moves To Prosecute Rights Abusers By Mark Dodd, , And Agencies

06/01/2000 Sydney Morning Herald

The Indonesian Government is taking a major step towards prosecuting those who committed the worst acts of violence around last year's independence vote in East Timor .

The Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman, will send a team of Indonesian experts to Dili within three weeks to take evidence relating to 12 acts of violence that occurred in the lead up to and immediately after the August 30 ballot.

Senior United Nations officials, who asked not to be named, told the Herald an advance team from the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) would arrive in Jakarta next week to pave the way for the Indonesian visit to Dili.

Details of the agreement were reached following talks on Tuesday between Mr Darusman and, the visiting head of UNTAET, Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello. The Indonesian action has been welcomed by the UN mission in Dili. ``It is in our interests that this investigation should be completed immediately and that cases then go before [an Indonesian] court,'' a senior UNTAET official said

``We are particularly interested in the Sander Thoenes' case, but there are other events which took place in Dili for which we are seeking more information.''

Thoenes, a Dutch national, was a Jakarta-based reporter for the London Financial Times newspaper and was murdered by Indonesian troops in Dili on September 21 last year.

He was killed the day the Australian-led international force in East Timor arrived to restore order after several weeks of bloody violence, arson and looting that left more than 1,000 killed and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed or damaged.

Mr Darusman's department is also collecting evidence on 11 other cases, including the April 6 Liquica church massacre in which as many as 50 people, sheltering in church grounds, were gunned down or hacked to death by members of the Besi Merah Putih (Red and White Steel) militia.

Indonesia is under strong pressure from the international community to provide a clear and transparent investigation into the violence.

The UN has warned Indonesia that if subsequent criminal proceedings are not totally impartial then it may hold its own East Timor war crimes tribunal.

The UN diplomats and human rights officials will be watching closely to see if the Indonesian investigation uncovers the role of senior Indonesian Army, police, intelligence and special forces commanders in instigating the violence.

In Geneva yesterday, aid agencies said a new spate of security incidents was hampering efforts to return East Timorese refugees to their homes from camps in Indonesian West Timor .

East Timorese and local residents at Tuapukan, the largest camp in the province, had been fighting each other with sticks, stones and knives over the past three days, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Said.

Bloodshed: the priority cases

* Liquica church massacre on April 6, 1999.

* Six suspected independence supporters killed in militia attack at Kailako village, April 13.

* Militia attack on Dili home of Manuel Carrascalao on April 19, killing up to 12 people including his son. Aitarak leader Eurico Guterres a key suspect.

* Pre-ballot militia violence in Dili, August 26.

* Maliana homes and government offices burnt, September 4.

* Up to 200 killed in Suai church massacre, including three priests, September 5.

* Twenty-five killed and 10 injured in Dili diocese office, September 5.

* Dili residence of Bishop Carlos Belo attacked, September 6.

* Up to 45 killed in Maliana police compound, September 8.

* Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes murdered, September 21.

* Massacre of Los Palos on September 25.

* Organised and spontaneous rapes by militia and Indonesian soldiers throughout East Timor during September.

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