|Subject: AP: United Nations Indicts 17 in
Received from Joyo Indonesian News
United Nations Indicts 17 in Indonesia
By JOANNA JOLLY
DILI, East Timor, Feb. 18 (AP) - International prosecutors on Monday indicted 17 pro-Jakarta militiamen and Indonesian soldiers for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during East Timor's violent break with Indonesia in 1999.
Among those charged was Eurico Gutteres, a notorious militia commander who now heads a youth wing of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's ruling party in Jakarta.
International arrest warrants will be issued for the suspects who are all believed to be in Indonesia, said Siri Frigaard, U.N. deputy prosecutor general in East Timor.
Under an agreement signed in 2000, Indonesia committed itself to cooperate with U.N. investigations in East Timor and to extradite suspects. But recently, Megawati's administration has refused to abide by the accord.
So far, 99 people have been charged with crimes committed before, during and after the U.N.-supervised independence referendum that ended Indonesia's 24-year military occupation of East Timor.
At the time, Indonesian troops and their militia proxies launched a massive campaign of violence in which hundreds of people were murdered and most of East Timor devastated. The bloodbath ended in September 1999 with the arrival of international peacekeepers.
East Timor is currently under temporary U.N. administration. It is due to achieve independence in May.
Guterres, who led a militia gang based in the capital, Dili, was charged with five counts of crimes against humanity for allegedly ordering his men to shoot pro-independence activists during a rally, and leading an attack on a separatist leader's home in April 1999.
Guterres, who now heads the Indonesian Young Bulls - part of Megawati's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle - immediately denied he had anything to do with the raid, saying he was not in Dili at the time of the attack.
``I also reject the Interpol request for my extradition because I am an Indonesian citizen,'' he said. ``It is up to my government to decide whether to hand over or not.''
RI 'should accede to United Nations, extradite 17 people'
Tertiani ZB Simandjuntak and Yogita Tahilramani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Human rights activists urged the government on Wednesday to extradite 17 former militia members and military personnel indicted in East Timor for crimes against humanity there, saying the charges against them did not involve ordinary crimes.
Usman Hamid of the National Human Rights Inquiry Team (KPP Ham) said that no extradition treaty was needed for gross human rights violations.
"Indonesia should fulfill the United Nations' request and hand over those men to international prosecutors because these are no ordinary violations ... it is not a matter of one or two or three murders," Usman said.
Munir of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) concurred with Usman, highlighting the fact that Indonesia had no choice but extradite those indicted.
"An extradition treaty between East Timor and Indonesia is not needed in the case of such extraordinary human rights violations. Moreover, the United Nations is working towards officially requesting that Indonesia extradite the 17 men," Munir said.
A memorandum signed in April 2000 by Indonesia and UNTAET stipulated that both parties shall "afford to each other the widest possible measure of mutual assistance in investigations or court proceedings." However, the memorandum falls short on provisions for extradition.
According to Munir, the Indonesian government and military were afraid that the 17 indicted, if extradited to East Timor, would reveal the TNI's role in recruiting, training and arming militia members before, during and after the UN-sponsored referendum in East Timor in 1999.
"Indonesia and the TNI fear that once extradited, the men will talk of how TNI, as an institution, and its generals, had created, developed and trained pro-Jakarta militias, fully armed them and funded them," Munir said.
"The TNI is just protecting its own generals involved in the killings and needs to shrug off the responsibility of having conducted gross human rights violations in East Timor."
A statement from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) said the charges included "murder, persecution and other inhumane acts."
The UNTAET press office stated on Wednesday that it would be willing to share "all of the evidence" that its investigators had gathered on the case with Indonesia.
"At the same time, our investigators are ready to go to trial. We would like Indonesia to hand over the 17 accused so we can proceed with that trial," UNTAET said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Post.
Meanwhile, the human rights tribunal ad hoc prosecutors are scheduled on Thursday to file the first of three indictments in respect of the 1999 East Timor human rights violations with the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal at the Central Jakarta District Court.
Attorney General's Office spokesman Barman Zahir said on Wednesday that the three separate indictments involved seven of the 19 suspects believed to have played important roles in the 1999 mayhem in East Timor. He refused to give the names of the suspects or specify the charges laid against them.
Barman added that the remaining nine indictments were still being kept on hold given the limited number of ad hoc judges and the courtrooms available, especially considering that each of the cases needed to be heard by five judges.
He also added that UNTAET had pledged cooperation in producing witnesses who are residing in East Timor. Such cooperation would be based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 2000.
Indonesians indicted in East Timor
1) Eurico Guterres, Aitarak militia leader
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