Subject: Indonesia unlikely to arrest soldier for Timor crimes: rights advocate

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Indonesia unlikely to arrest soldier for Timor crimes: rights advocate

JAKARTA, Dec 12 (AFP) - Indonesia was unlikely to arrest a military officer charged in the first trial of cases of crime against humanity arising from the mayhem surrounding East Timor's 1999 independence vote, a senior rights advocate said Wednesday.

A court in Dili on Tuesday found members of the pro-Indonesia Tim Alpha militia gang guilty of crimes against humanity, including the massacre of a group of Catholic clergy and an Indonesian journalist.

But Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) lieutenant Syaful Anwar, who allegedly directed the militiamen and participated in the torture and murder of an independence supporter, escaped conviction and sentencing because he was "at large" and believed to be in Indonesia.

The secretary general of Indonesia's Human Rights Commission, Asmara Nababan, said there was little hope of arresting Anwar.

"I'm not very optimistic. If there is a political will by the government of Indonesia I think it's not difficult, however they are lacking political will," Nababan told AFP.

"There will be no arrest. We don't see any arrest in the near future."

A warrant for Anwar's arrest was then served in February this year on Indonesia's former Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, under an agreement between the United Nations and Indonesia's Attorney General's Office (AGO) to hand over people wanted for crimes in either country.

But an AGO spokesman said Wednesday he did not know if the warrant had been received, nor whether any efforts were under way to locate Anwar.

"I don't know anything about it. I need to check where the warrant is," spokesman Mulyoharjo (eds:one name) told AFP.

Three of the 10 Tim Alpha militiamen were sentenced to 33 years in prison for multiple murders, with another seven members receiving sentences of between four to 23 years each.

Anwar was the 11th suspect named in the indictment which was first filed by prosecutors in Dili in December last year.

The special panel of Dili District Court which heard the case was told that Anwar had authority and control over members of Tim Alpha, issuing orders and instructions that were executed by the team.

According to prosecutors, Anwar watched over the April 1999 ambush of pro-independence Falantil guerrilla Evaristo Lopes by Tim Alpha men. He later ordered them to bring him to a local Kopassus base where he joined in torturing Lopes and killing him.

Anwar was based in Lautem as a deputy commander of Kopassus from March to September 1999.

The panel found there had been "extensive attacks by the pro-autonomy (pro-Indonesia) armed groups, supported by the Indonesian authorities, targeting the civilian population" in 1999, presiding judge Marcello da Costa of Brazil told the Dili courthouse as he delivered the verdict.

That finding proved the widespread or systematic nature of the attacks that led to the charges of crimes against humanity, the UN administration in East Timor noted in a statement.

Militia gangs, raised and backed by Indonesian security forces, led an orgy of killing, arson and destruction in the months surrounding the August 1999 ballot on independence from Indonesia.

They also forced around a quarter of a million people out of East Timor into the Indonesian-ruled western half of the island.

Estimates of the numbers killed range from around 1,000 to 2,000.

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