Subject: SMH: Conspiracy By Generals Led to Timor Killings: UN

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, April 12, 2001

Conspiracy by generals led to Timor killings: UN

By Lindsay Murdoch, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta

The United Nations will face renewed pressure to set up an East Timor war crimes tribunal after receiving a report alleging a conspiracy among Indonesian generals was behind 1999's wave of killings and destruction.

The report, by a special UN-appointed investigator, Mr James Dunn, came as human rights activists and diplomats in Jakarta said yesterday that they believed 22 people named as orchestrating the violence might escape prosecution in Indonesia because of a legal loophole.

Mr Dunn's report contradicts claims by Indonesia's top military officers, including the former armed forces chief General Wiranto, that the violence was a spontaneous reaction by pro-Jakarta Timorese to the UN-administered ballot in which voters rejected Indonesian rule.

Mr Dunn, a former Australian consul in East Timor, told the ABC: "I've made a very firm statement that what happened in East Timor was not a spontaneous response by Timorese who wanted to stay with Indonesia; it was a virtual conspiracy led by a number of Indonesian generals.''

The UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, warned last year that the UN would consider setting up an international tribunal if Jakarta failed to prosecute key East Timor culprits.

The Indonesian Government is certain to refuse to co-operate with any prosecutions outside the jurisdiction of its own courts.

In the days after the August 1999 ballot an unknown number of East Timorese were slaughtered and buildings and other infrastructure were destroyed as pro-Jakarta forces abandoned the province.

Mr Dunn's report, which has not been made public, is believed to name several high-ranking generals in Jakarta who are not among the 22 people named as suspects by the Indonesian Attorney-General.

The most senior officer among the official suspects is Major-General Adam Damiri, the then Bali-based military commander of East Timor.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the 22 official suspects could escape conviction because the Attorney-General's office had missed a deadline for bringing the cases to trial.

The Post quoted legal experts and diplomats as saying they believed judges would dismiss the cases because prosecutors had not started prosecutions within a legally mandated 310-day period after the beginning of investigations.

Under a human rights law enacted last year, the Attorney-General's office has 240 days to investigate cases of genocide or crimes against humanity and a further 70 days to begin prosecutions. The 70 days, legal experts said, expired on February23.

Before any charges are filed over the Timor violence, a special ad-hoc human rights court must be formed. Parliament approved such a court only last month, and the legislation still has not been signed by President Abdurrahman Wahid.

However, the Attorney-General, Mr Marzuki Darusman, argued that the 70-day clock did not begin until the special court had been formed and charges filed. "We are wholly on track here," he was quoted as saying.

However, an unnamed UN official in Jakarta told the Post that the Indonesian Government "no longer has the political will to see these people in jail".

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