|Subject: AP: Indon Govt Funded Militias In
E. Timor: Witness
Received from Joyo Indonesian News
Indonesian Govt Funded Militias In East Timor - Witness
JAKARTA (AP)--Indonesia paid for anti-independence militias responsible for much of the violence in East Timor in 1999 when it voted for independence, a former government official told a court Thursday.
Rajakarina Brahmana, who was provincial secretary in East Timor in 1999, said between 10% and 20% of the provincial government's budget went to anti-independence efforts, including paying for militiamen. He didn't say how much this amounted to.
Brahmana's testimony at the trial of former East Timor police chief Timbul Silean strengthens the prosecution's case that Indonesia trained and set up the militiamen.
Indonesia has admitted to organizing what it terms "civilian security guards" to safeguard the independence ballot, but denied it was responsible for their actions.
Silaen, along with 24 other Indonesian officials, is charged with crimes against humanity for failing to prevent the killings that swept the territory when it voted to break from Jakarta rule.
Up to 1,000 people were killed in the rampage, which stopped only when international peacekeepers arrived.
Rights activists say most of the victims were murdered by militia gangs the local government allegedly hoped would intimidate people into voting for continued union with Indonesia.
Brahmana didn't link Silaen directly to the violence.
But he said a defendant in a separate trial - the territory's former governor Abilio Soares - addressed a crowd of armed militiamen in Dili on April 7, 1999.
Hours later, militiamen attacked the house of prominent independence leader Manuel Carrascalao, killing 12 people.
When asked by the judge why the government didn't take action against the militia after the massacre, Brahmana said the gangs were needed to ensure security in the capital.
Jakarta has been under intense pressure to punish those responsible for the rampage in East Timor. Critics are skeptical, however, that any of the defendants will see justice in Indonesian courts, which are known to go easy on well-connected defendants.
The trials have been marked by numerous prosecutorial missteps. Several East Timorese witnesses have refused to testify, saying they are too scared to travel to Indonesia.
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