Subject: Attorney General on investigating violations in ETimor and Aceh

Taken from an interview of Attorney General Marzuki Darusman published in The Indonesian Observer on 31 December 1999

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN EAST TIMOR ó At least six senior generals are accused of masterminding the violence that left East Timor devastated after it voted overwhelmingly for independence on August 30.

Q: How will the findings of the Commission of Inquiry for Human Rights Abuses (KPP HAM) be processed?

A: It will be continued to investigation stage. KPP HAMís report will be treated as prior evidence.

Q: Is it possible that B.J. Habibie will be summoned?

A: He will need to be summoned when the time comes.

Q: Are you under pressure from certain parties at the moment?

A: No.

Q: Have people been trying to bribe you?

A: No, I think that would be useless.

Q: How do you expect the current situation will turn out?

A: Donít look at the situation with theories. There were many groups who came to Komnas HAMís office, yelling that KPP HAM is discriminative. Others said KPP HAM is a Western agent. All this disturbs KPP HAMís work. I think my expectation is that people should appreciate the KPP HAMís presence, because itís working well to investigate human rights abuses in East Timor case.

Q: So itís rubbish that KPP HAM is an international agent?

A: Thereís no evidence that we are funded from abroad. I myself am inside the organization. What do they mean by making such accusations? KPP HAM was established to make the generals be tried in Indonesia. If not, they will be dragged before an international tribunal.

Q: Some might say you defend the human rights abusers

A: No I donít defend them. We defend our national system, because we have to prove whether or not itís effective. We are trying to brush off the stereotype that justice systems in the third world are lousy, like how Westerners always see us. Perhaps an Indonesian court would issue a tougher verdict than an international tribunal.

ACEH ó Human rights groups say 5,000 people were killed in Aceh during a military operation from 1989-98, and thousands were raped or tortured.

Q: Will you launch a probe into human rights abuses in Aceh?

A: The independent parliamentary commission on Aceh completed its tasks one month ago. Weíll start the investigation stage at the Attorney Generalís Office.

Q: Are there indications that generals will be named as suspects?

A: Which ones? Donít name the top-ranking generals as the first suspects. The suspects are those who committed the rape, slaughter and killing. We canít start probing those ultimately responsible at this time. The more important thing is investigating the suspects we already have.

Q: Will that satisfy the Acehnese people?

A: Perhaps not. So we will start with the data they themselves report to us. We plan to establish another KPP HAM for Aceh.

Q: What about the findings by the special parliamentary team?

A: Itís not yet enough to start an investigation. They discussed more about the possibility of a referendum in Aceh.

Q: But surely they also discussed Acehís status as a Military Operation Zone (DOM)?

A: As for the abuses which were caused by the DOM, we will collect the evidence.

Q: Maybe you will encounter the same problem as the parliamentary team did, when it summoned a number of retired generals. They will keep saying the same old irrational arguments

A: Maybe, but the oneís who want the KPP HAM established are the people of Aceh themselves. So donít worry and donít be afraid that this case wonít be accomplished. I will keep on going and I will maintain my commitment.

Q: Donít you ever feel afraid?

A: Yes sometimes. But that goes with the job, doesnít it?

Q: Which group is out to suppress you the most? Parallel groups around you or those from below?

A: They come from all directions, but so far they can be tolerated. A guy like Munir [coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence] has far more risks than me, and heís okay.


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