Subject: JP Eurico's court hearing comes under spotlight

The Jakarta Post January 31, 2001

Eurico's court hearing comes under spotlight

JAKARTA (JP): Portuguese Ambassador Ana Martins Gomez questioned on Tuesday the security and objectivity of the North Jakarta District Court during hearings on pro-integration leader Eurico Guterres.

The ambassador expressed her concerns because there were "unruly" situations in the courtroom caused by the defendant's supporters.

"Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra has clarified the situation... I'm sure that the justice proceedings (objectivity) must be done and seemed to be done," she told an afternoon press briefing following an hour-long meeting with Yusril at his office.

Yusril said that the ambassador's visit was connected with Portugal's mission to prepare an annual report for the European Union, including the circumstances of Eurico's trial, which was shifted from a lower court in East Nusa Tenggara where the alleged crimes took place to Jakarta due to security concerns.

"She wanted to know why Indonesia allows supporters of Eurico to swarm the courtroom waving banners and flags and I explained to her that here in Jakarta Eurico is an executive of a chapter of a popular party, Banteng Muda (Young Bulls).

"I also assured her of the judges objectivity in handling the case and that the district court until now has not complained about the rowdy supporters and that the situation there is still under control," Yusril told journalists.

Eurico is charged with illegal possession of weapons and attacking officials during the collection of his followers' weapons from a local police office.

Yusril advised that he also informed the ambassador that Indonesia would establish eight human rights tribunals in five Jakarta district courts -- in Medan, North Sumatra; Surabaya, East Java and Makassar, South Sulawesi.

He said that the Portuguese government also sought clarification of the disbursement of pension funds for former Indonesian officials and military personnel who had changed their nationality to East Timorese.

"We said that we will pay but we have to wait for the law on citizenship between Indonesia and East Timor to be endorsed. The law was yet to be drafted since East Timor has not obtained its' formal independence," he added.

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