Subject: AU: Bali officer under war crimes cloud

The Australian

November 25, 2004 Thursday All-round Country Edition

Bali officer under war crimes cloud

Mark Dodd


THE chief investigator of the Bali bombings, Inspector-General Made Mangku Pastika, is himself under investigation for East Timor war crimes.

Inspector-General Pastika, who was praised by the Australian Government for the inquiry that helped bring the bombers to trial, faces war crimes charges over human rights abuses involving the crack police unit he commanded during the nation's bloody 1999 ballot for self-determination.

As one of the Indonesian commanders of the military force in East Timor in 1999, he is under investigation, an official from the UN Serious Crimes Panel told The Australian.

The official declined to provide further details, except to say a formal announcement was likely to be made within days.

However, The Australian has learnt that General Pastika faces command responsibility for several incidents involving the fatal shooting of East Timorese civilians and another in which a US police officer was severely wounded outside the town of Liquica.

It is alleged the Brimob commandos he led were directly involved in the shootings and as a senior police officer, General Pastika bore ultimate responsibility for those under his command.

The prosecution would proceed on the basis he was complicit in giving orders which constituted criminal offences or he was not exercising proper supervision to prevent them, knowing it was about to happen, said Brisbane barrister Mark Plunkett, a former UN chief prosecutor in Cambodia. Mr Plunkett served in East Timor as an election observer in 1999 and witnessed numerous incidents of human rights violations.

In 1999, Indonesian security forces and their militia proxies were responsible for a campaign of murder, intimidation and destruction that devastated the tiny half-island territory.

According to the human rights group Amnesty International, more than 1400 people were killed in a systematic campaign to thwart the UN-supervised ballot.

More than 350 people have since been indicted by the UN-backed judicial panel in East Timor. However, Jakarta refuses to acknowledge its legitimacy and so far no senior Indonesian police or army commanders have been brought to justice.

The unit's ability to lodge prosecutions ends at the end of this month, meaning any charges against General Pastika -- and many others -- are unlikely to be acted upon.

General Pastika, Indonesia's 51-year-old deputy chief of the Criminal Investigations Division, rose to public prominence after the Bali nightclub bombings on October 12, 2002 that left 202 people dead, including 88 Australians.

His investigation, which involved close co-operation with the Australian Federal Police, FBI and Scotland Yard detectives, led to the arrest of 29 Islamic militants, alleged members of the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist group.

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