Subject: AP: ET Prosecutors charge 2 Indon Officers, 14 Militiamen with War Crimes

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Indonesians Charged With War Crimes


DILI, East Timor, June 26 (AP) - Prosecutors on Wednesday charged two Indonesian officers and 14 militiamen with crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in the deaths of dozens of people during East Timor's violent break with Indonesia in 1999.

Prosecutor Longuinhos Monteiro filed indictments in a Dili court against suspects allegedly involved in more than 70 killings and four rapes in East Timor's Bobonaro and Oecussi districts in 1999.

The murders include those of two East Timorese citizens working for the U.N. mission that organized the August 1999 referendum in which East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia.

One of the U.N. workers was allegedly shot and killed by an Indonesian military intelligence officer, identified only as Asis Fontes. He is one of the two Indonesian officers indicted.

The second officer, Lt. Sustrisno, is alleged to have been present when both U.N. workers were killed.

``This is a breakthrough case because it shows clearly that the killing of U.N. workers was part of a widespread and systematic attack, not only carried out by militiamen but also by serving members of the Indonesian military,'' said prosecutor Brenda Sue Thornton.

With the latest indictments, East Timor has charged 117 people for crimes during the violence surrounding the referendum. The country officially gained independence on May 20.

Up to 1,000 East Timorese civilians were killed and hundreds raped and tortured by the pro-Jakarta militias and their Indonesian military backers before and after the independence vote.

Twenty-three suspects have already been convicted and are serving sentences in East Timorese jails.

Only four East Timorese militiamen out of the 14 indicted Wednesday are in custody in East Timor, Thornton said. The rest, along with both Indonesian officers, are at large in Indonesia.

Although arrest warrants have been issued, the government of the new East Timorese nation has yet to negotiate an extradition treaty with Jakarta.

Earlier this year, Indonesian authorities set up their own human rights court for atrocities committed in East Timor in an effort to avert the creation of international war crimes tribunals like those for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Twenty-five Indonesian police, military and government officials face charges of crimes against humanity for their role in the violence. Thirteen are currently on trial, including Dili police chief Hulman Gultom, who went on trial Wednesday.

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