Subject: Wiranto to face East Timor questions

Wiranto to face East Timor questions

Friday Apr 27 14:43 AEST

The former head of Indonesia's Armed Forces will face questioning about the violence surrounding East Timor's historic 1999 vote for independence at a public hearing in Jakarta next week.

General Wiranto will be one of 16 witnesses to front the East Timor Indonesia Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) in Jakarta, at its third public hearing.

CTF spokesman Chalief Akbar said the retired general, who contested the 2004 Indonesian presidential elections and was indicted in absentia by a Dili court in 2003 for crimes against humanity, will appear on the final day of the four day hearing.

Wiranto told Indonesian news portal earlier this month he "asked to be invited" to the commission.

"All this time, there has been manipulation of the information about what (Indonesian officers) did during the referendum," he told the internet news site.

"This will be a good opportunity for me to tell what really happened there."

The CTF was formed by the presidents of Indonesia and East Timor to foster friendship by establishing a conclusive truth about the 1999 violence in East Timor in which 1,500 people were killed, mainly by pro-independence militia linked to Indonesia's army.

However, human rights groups have been critical of the commission, which has the power to recommend amnesties for perpetrators of human rights violations in exchange for their cooperation.

Others to testify next week include former Indonesian police chief in East Timor Timbul Silaen, as well as a number of victims of the violence, Akbar said.

However, CTF Commissioner Achmad Ali said the former head of the UN mission in East Timor Ian Martin had rejected an invitation to attend because of his current UN commitments.

Mr Martin is currently the head of the UN's mission in Nepal.

Several high-ranking Indonesian military officials have accused the UN of bias during the 1999 referendum.

The hearings will come just days before the second round of East Timor's presidential elections, with Fretilin's Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo" and current Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta both vying for the largely ceremonial post as head of state of the fledgling nation.

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