|Subject: AP: Timor Ex-Police Chief: Not
Solely Responsible For Violence
Timor Ex-Police Chief: Not Solely Responsible For Violence
JAKARTA, July 19 (AP)--Defending himself against charges of human rights abuse, a former Indonesian police chief in East Timor told a human rights court Friday that he shouldn't be found guilty because his superiors were in a better position to stop the bloodshed in 1999.
"I was not the only one who was responsible for East Timor's security at that time," Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen said. "It was a system where I cooperated with then-military chief and defense minister (Gen.) Wiranto and Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Feisal Tandjung."
Neither of those men are facing prosecution in Indonesia for the killing and destruction that followed East Timor's U.N.-sponsored independence referendum.
Senior U.N. officials and human rights activists have accused Wiranto of being behind much of the bloodshed and doubt he will ever face justice in Indonesia.
Silaen is one of 18 former Indonesian military and government officials charged with crimes against humanity. They are accused of failing to prevent the violence that left nearly 1,000 dead and the half-island territory in ruins.
Silaen also claimed that he shouldn't be blamed for the bloodshed as the military, not the police, was responsible for security after the ballot, when a state of emergency was imposed. He said the job of the police was to safeguard and evacuate refugees.
Witnesses who were in East Timor during the 1999 violence say they saw uniformed police officers siding with anti-independence militias and taking part in the fighting.
The army set up the militias in a failed effort to counter the independence movement and encourage Timorese to vote against independence. Nearly 80% of the population voted to secede from Indonesia in the Aug. 30, 1999 ballot.
Silaen maintained he had done a good job in East Timor. He said he had been praised by U.N. officials as well as East Timor's Roman Catholic Bishop Filipe Ximenes Belo and East Timorese legislator Leandro Isac.
"The (U.N.) congratulated me that the balloting ran smoothly," Silaen said. "Also, just last week I received letters from Belo and Isac. Both thanked me for protecting them."
It wasn't immediately possible to confirm Silaen's claim of having received the praise.
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