Subject: US To Press Indonesia On Case Of US Victim Of Militia

Associated Press August 30, 2001

US To Press Indonesia On Case Of US Victim Of Militia

DILI, East Timor (AP)--The U.S. government will insist that Indonesia bring to justice all those responsible for the murder last year of Carlos Caceres, an American relief worker, a senior State Department official said Thursday.

James Kelly, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, said he would press the issue in talks with Indonesian leaders in Jakarta this week.

"It's an ongoing problem, one of several problems that our Congress has made me aware of," Kelly told reporters in East Timor's capital of Dili.

On Sept. 6, a mob of pro-Indonesian militiamen from East Timor stormed the U.N. office in Atambua, in Indonesian-held West Timor, and killed three foreign U.N. aid workers - including Caceres, 33.

Witnesses said militiamen beat and stabbed the men before mutilating their bodies and burning them in the street. Other U.N. workers were cut by machetes and axes but escaped.

It was the deadliest attack on U.N. civilian staff in the history of the world body.

The militia groups are remnants of gangs of thugs set up by the Indonesian army before a U.N.-supervised referendum on Aug. 30, 1999.

Four-fifths of East Timor's voters opted for independence in an Aug. 30, 1999 ballot, ending Indonesia's brutal 24-year military occupation of the former Portuguese colony.

The Indonesian army and its paramilitary groups reacted to the vote by going on a rampage of murder, burning and destruction in which hundreds of civilians were killed and much of East Timor was devastated.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled in terror, many of them to West Timor. The U.N., which has taken over administration of East Timor during its transition to full independence, has managed to repatriate about three-quarters of the 250,000 refugees from the west.

But the return of the others has been blocked by the militia groups, which are said to be operating in the refugee camps with the covert support of hardline elements in the Indonesian army.

Caceres was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but his family moved to Florida in the 1970s. His mother and sister live in the Miami area.

In May, an Indonesian court sentenced six militiamen to prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 months for the triple murder. The verdict outraged the U.N. and international humanitarian agencies.

"That was a trial that was absurd," Kelly said on Thursday. "I will certainly be talking to senior members of the Indonesian government (about it)."


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