Subject: E.Timor Indicts 12 for Murder in 1999 Vote Runup
Received from Joyo Indonesia News
E.Timor indicts 12 for murder in 1999 vote runup
JAKARTA, Nov 21 (Reuters) - East Timor investigators have charged 12 people with committing murder just ahead of the territory's vote for independence at the end of August 1999, the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) said.
The 12 "are all charged with crimes against humanity: murder and persecution," and include former Indonesian government officials and soldiers and pro-Indonesia militia members, UNMISET said in a statement from Dili on Thursday.
Indonesia had ruled East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, for 24 years before its landslide vote for independence.
UNMISET said that on August 27, 1999 the 12 attacked the residential compound of an East Timorese leader, Verissimo Dias Quintas, which housed the office of a pro-independence group. Both his home and the office were burned down and he died in the attack.
Of the 12 charged, one is already serving a sentence in Dili for another crime during the period, and nine of the others are believed to be living in Indonesia. Arrest warrants have been requested from the Dili District Court, UNMISET said.
The run-up to the 1999 vote and especially the weeks immediately after it were marked by violence the U.N. estimated killed more than 1,000 people, much of it blamed on machete-wielding pro-Jakarta militia backed by elements of the Indonesian military.
A U.N. peacekeeping force stepped in to end the carnage, and the United Nations administered East Timor until its formal independence last May.
(Jerry Norton, Jakarta newsroom +6221 384-6364, Fax +6221 344-8404, jakarta.newsroom+reuters.com))
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