Subject: etpost - El Pais: Nobel laureate Horta launches Pinochet-style suit against Suharto
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:37:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts May 24, 1999, Monday

Nobel laureate Horta launches Pinochet-style suit against Suharto 'El Pais' web site, Madrid, in Spanish 21 May 99

Lisbon: The number two of the Timorese resistance and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996, Jose Ramos Horta, has told this newspaper that he is working for "the arrest of the Indonesian dictator Suharto for genocide" and "the seizure of his immense fortune" , which was valued by 'Time'magazine this week at 15bn dollars. Ramos-Horta is basing his suit on the precedent of the Pinochet case. Suharto was in power from 1967 until last year. Ramos Horta explained that his initiative is already supported by three other Nobel Peace Prize winners: [the Costa Rican] Oscar Arias, [the Guatemalan] Rigoberta Menchu and [the Argentinean] Adolfo Perez Esquivel.

Ramos Horta said the legal action was being prepared by lawyers in Spain, the USA, Britain and Australia. The Nobel laureate admitted that "the case will be difficult, but we must begin the 21st century by fighting the impunity of tyrannies" . He added that: "Evidence is being gathered for the crimes against humanity committed by Suharto" with the aim of "requesting an Interpol arrest warrant and the seizure of all his assets to compensate the victims and restore the stolen wealth" ...

As regards Indonesia's violation of the accords signed in New York earlier this month to re-establish security in East Timor ahead of the referendum on the future of the former Portuguese colony on 8th August, Ramos Horta said that "the international community must step up its pressure on the Jakarta regime through economic sanctions and arms embargoes" .

"Indonesia is now bankrupt and Jakarta needs billions [presumably of dollars] of aid. At the same time, Indonesia is spending millions on a totally irresponsible adventure in East Timor. That's why I'm insisting to the European Union, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that they must freeze their aid to the Indonesia regime, at least for a few months. The arms consignments must be frozen and then the IMF economic aid must be stopped - in practice, this is a subsidy for an immoral war in Timor" , he explained.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner explained that the former Portuguese colony of Timor had suffered historically unprecedented "ethnic cleansing" since 1975... "Despite the fall of Suharto, the Indonesia regime, now controlled by the military, is still out there killing and murdering with total impunity. And all of this right in front of the international community, the UN observers and journalists" . Ramos Horta thinks "it is completely proven" that the pro-Indonesian militias are armed, financed and led by the Jakarta army. "Many of the recent massacres have even by carried out with army involvement."

The number two of the Timorese resistance has full confidence in the good will of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, but some doubts about the ability of his observers to guarantee security in Timor: " This process is a great test of UN credibility. This is a sort of struggle between the international conscience and the arrogance and impunity of the Indonesian forces. The UN can't lose this bet" . "I want to call on the authorities of Spain, which has close relations with Jakarta, to put pressure on Indonesia to make it give up such an irresponsible and self-defeating policy" , he adds.

Ramos Horta thinks that the serious problems the Indonesian regime is going through can only be resolved through dialogue: "The risks of the largest archipelago in the world breaking up can only be fought by peaceful means and by accepting administrative autonomy for some of its regions. Indonesia has to understand that on the threshold of the 21st century problems are resolved by dialogue, not by using force" .

He gave a serious warning about what would happen if Jakarta didn't accept the democratic verdict in Timor. "If they don't accept independence as fruit of the referendum and don't establish good-neighbourly relations with us, we will build a big army with great resources like the ones in Israel, Taiwan and Singapore. Indonesia knows that it couldn't break us, despite the vast foreign support it received. We've resisted unaided for 24 years" ...

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