Subject: WSJ Letter: Held Accountable (from Prosecutor for Serious Crimes)

The Wall Street Journal May 3, 2004

Letter to the Editor

Held Accountable

Your April 23 editorial, "The Wiranto Surprise," argued that since General Wiranto is a candidate for the presidency of Indonesia, his indictment for crimes against humanity and the request for an arrest warrant by the Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor constituted "United Nations meddling in Indonesian politics." In fact, the indictment charging Mr. Wiranto was issued in February 2003, long before he emerged as a candidate for president.

The indictment, which you complained was "raising an unnecessary ruckus," charges Mr. Wiranto with command responsibility for a campaign of terror that included torture and sexual assaults, the destruction of approximately 75% of all homes and other structures in East Timor, and the murder of over 1,400 human beings.

You are either misinformed or disingenuous when you state, "It stretches credulity to believe that blame can be neatly apportioned to one man for a spate of violence that capped over two decades of war." The indictment against Mr. Wiranto covers only the events of 1999 and clearly indicates he was not acting alone. Crimes against humanity, by the nature of their scale, are never committed by a single individual. Mr. Wiranto, who commanded all of Indonesia's police and army units in East Timor, is the highest ranking of 369 individuals that the Serious Crimes Unit has charged with crimes related to this violence.

No objective observers described the events of 1999 as "war." Rather this was a terror campaign directed at a civilian population. The Commission of Inquiry established by the Indonesian government, the Ad Hoc Human Rights court in Jakarta and the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in East Timor have all made findings that the violence in East Timor was systematic and financed, orchestrated and encouraged by military officers commanded by Mr. Wiranto.

It is my belief that those responsible for crimes against humanity should be held accountable regardless of the positions they hold or offices they seek.

Nicholas Koumjian Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes Dili, East Timor


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