Subject: LUSA: Court Gives Maximum Prison Sentences in First Atrocities Trial

see also Judicial System Monitoring Programme report

and Committee to Protect Journalist's response:

11 Dec 01 11:25 East Timor: Court Gives Maximum Prison Sentences in First Atrocities Trial

Dili´s Special Panel on Serious Crimes wrapped up Tuesday its first case of crimes against humanity committed by Indonesian forces in East Timor in 1999, sentencing nine Timorese militiamen to prison terms ranging from four to more than 33 years.

Three of the defendants, including an anti-independence militia boss, Joni Marques, got the maximum penalty of 33 years and four months.

The defendants, members of the Team Alfa and Jati Merah Puti Indonesian proxy militias, were found guilty of at least 13 murders, torture and forced deportations of civilians from the eastern Lospalos zone between April 21 and September 1999.

Two other men charged in the case, including an Indonesian Kopassus special forces lieutenant, Sayful Anwar, were not tried because their whereabouts are unknown and East Timorese law does not allow trials in absentia.

The three-judge special panel began trying the Lospalos case, the first of four atrocity cases currently before the court, in July.

The special panel is composed of one East Timorese judge, Natercia Gusmao Pereira, and two international judges, Marcelo Dolzany da Costa of Brazil and Sylver Ntukamazina of Burundi.

Separately, an Indonesian court has indicted three more East Timorese militiamen for the killing last year of a New Zealand UN peacekeeper in an ambush in East Timor, officials said Tuesday in Jakarata.

The prime suspect in that killing, Jacobus Bere, is already on trial in the Indonesian capital.

SAS -Lusa-

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