Subject: Judge warns army defendant to tell truth about Timor massacre

Judge warns army defendant to tell truth about Timor massacre

07/09/2002 06:37:22

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A judge on Tuesday warned an army officer not to lie about his alleged involvement in a church massacre in East Timor during the province's bloody separation from Indonesia in 1999.

``You are an army officer, don't lie,'' Judge Cicut Sutiarso said as Maj. Sugito testified about the events that led up to the massacre at the Ave Maria Church in Sept. 6, 1999.

``We don't know yet what the verdict will be, but if you lie and then you are found guilty, you will definitely receive heavier punishment.''

Sugito is one of five senior police and military officers charged with crimes against humanity for standing by while pro-Jakarta militiamen attacked the church and killed 27 refugees who sought shelter there.

They are among 18 officers and government officials facing charges over the violence. The United Nations has accused the Indonesian military of instigating bloodshed in which hundreds of people died after an independence referendum on Aug. 30, 1999.

``When I returned (to Suai) at 5 p.m., I found refugees at my office and then went to the church where I saw the 27 bodies,'' Sugito told the Jakarta court of his whereabouts.

The judge was reacting to this testimony when he ordered Sugito not to lie to the court. Next week, prosecutors will submit their sentence demands in the case.


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