Subject: AP: E Timor sentences militia commander to 15 years in jail
Also: AFP - Militiaman jailed for East Timor attacks
Wednesday December 1, 8:53 PM East Timor sentences militia commander to 15 years in jail Associated Press
An East Timor court on Wednesday sentenced a militia leader to 15 years in jail for an attack on a house full of refugees that left 12 dead during the country's bloody break from Indonesian rule in 1999.
Meanwhile, Timorese prosecutors indicted five militia commanders on charges of killing 19 people and torturing 26 others as part of an unsuccessful campaign to prevent Timorese from approving an independence referendum in August 1999.
Voters approved it and the country became independent in May 2002.
Marculino Soares, a commander of the Besi Merah Putih militia commander, was found guilty of helping organize the attack on the home of pro-independence leader Manuel Carrascal√£o on April 17, 1999, which left 12 dead, including his son.
Soares also encouraged his men to launch the attack following an anti-independence rally in Dili, and took part in it, the court found.
The five militia commanders stand accused of crimes against humanity for allegedly launching an anti-independence campaign on the half-island that included murder, torture and "ordering a sweeping and cleansing operation" against pro-independence supporters.
The indictments Tuesday bring to 375 the number of Indonesian military and militia members charged with human rights violations over the violence that left 1,500 Timorese dead and East Timor in ruins.
All five defendants fled East Timor and are believed to be in Indonesia, prosecutors said.
Some 280 other suspects are also believed to be in Indonesia _ including failed Indonesian presidential candidate Gen. Wiranto, who was the country's military chief in 1999.
Indonesia is under no obligation to hand over the suspects, and has said it will not respond to earlier indictments. East Timor has not aggressively pushed to have the defendants turned over, saying good relations with its large neighbor are more important.
Courts in Jakarta, Indonesia, were set up to prosecute top Indonesians responsible for the violence, but rights groups have widely criticized the trials as failures. All 16 police and military officers charged have been acquitted, while two ethnic East Timorese civilians were found guilty.
Last Update: Wednesday, December 1, 2004. 11:16pm (AEDT) Militiaman jailed for East Timor attacks
An East Timor court has jailed a former pro-Jakarta militiaman for 15 years for murder during the territory's bloody breakaway from Indonesia in 1999.
Marculino Soares, a former member of the Besi Merah Putih militia in Liquica district, has been found guilty of taking part in an April 1999 attack on the house of independence supporter Manuel Carrascalao in Dili.
In the attack, 12 people were killed and nine were wounded.
"It has been proven that Marculino Soares personally participated in the organisation and execution of the attack," a serious crime unit statement said.
The convictions bring to 73 the number of people convicted in East Timor over the 1999 violence.
The unit says it has charged five former militia commanders with crimes against humanity over the murder of 19 people, and for the torture and persecution of 26 others in Balibo in 1999.
Among the five is Joao da Silva Tavares, the former head of the pro-Jakarta Integration Fighters Forces.
Tavares and the other four men are believed to be living outside East Timor.
Militiamen, aided by Indonesian soldiers, waged a campaign of intimidation and revenge before and after a United Nations-organised vote in August 1999, which saw East Timorese choose overwhelmingly to split from Indonesia.
An estimated 1,000 people were killed and whole towns razed.
United Nations-funded prosecutors in East Timor have indicted 369 people, including former Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto.
But 281 of them are in Indonesia, which refuses to hand anyone over for trial.
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