Subject: Wiranto may be charged with 'omission'

Also: Military men deplore comments made by rights commission

Jakarta Post December 09, 1999

Wiranto may be charged with 'omission'

JAKARTA (JP): A government-sanctioned inquiry said on Wednesday that Gen. Wiranto could be charged with "omission" for allowing violence and destruction to continue in the ravaged territory of East Timor after the Aug. 30 self-determination ballot.

Albert Hasibuan, chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses in East Timor, alleged that Wiranto had knowledge of the violence in the territory but did not do enough to prevent it from continuing.

Wiranto, who is now coordinating minister for political affairs and security, was the Indonesian Military (TNI) commander and defense minister at the time.

"I believe that Wiranto could be charged with omission or failure to take action," Albert told The Jakarta Post.

"He knew what was happening there, but he allowed the violence to continue and by this (inaction) more killings and destruction took place."

The commission, formed in late September, in its midterm report last week said the military was either directly or indirectly responsible for the violence.

Wiranto is among a number of Army generals to be questioned by the commission later this month. Wiranto has appointed former justice minister Muladi and a number of lawyers as his legal consultants.

Albert, however, said on Wednesday that prointegration militia leaders Eurico Guterres and Joao da Silva Tavarres would be questioned first to verify the militia's alleged links to the military.

"We think that the militia members' account will be instrumental to us in confirming TNI's alleged involvement in the violence," Albert said.

He said TNI Commander Adm. Widodo A.S. had promised during a meeting with the commission last week that the military would fly the militia leaders from East Nusa Tenggara to Jakarta.

Albert added that during the meeting Widodo gave the commission a booklet containing the results of the military's investigation into the East Timor violence.

Albert claimed, however, that the military had "turned facts around" in its investigation.

For example, he noted that the military claimed the incident in the East Timor town of Suai was triggered by a gunfight between prointegration militias and proindependence supporters. However, according to Albert, witnesses said militias had attacked refugees seeking shelter in a church.

"It's obvious that it tends to scale down the seriousness of the violence, the death toll and the destruction level in East Timor," Albert said.

The commission said earlier that TNI was allegedly involved in the militia attack on the Suai church on Sept. 6 in which at least 26 people were killed.

The chief of the UN commission's inquiry into East Timor violence, Sonia Picado, said earlier this week that after comparing notes with Indonesian counterparts, both inquiries had found traces of evidence that the Indonesian TNI was responsible for the violence.

The UN commission on Wednesday met here with Indonesian foreign minister Alwi Shihab.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alwi stressed that Jakarta's compliance to work with the UN commission was based on its desire to cooperate and not due to the UN human rights commission's resolution, which Indonesia rejects.

The statement also stressed that the commission's visit here "was not to investigate but to consult with the Indonesian side".

Alwi further asserted that "any attempt to take action against those found responsible for human rights violations must take into account the strategic interests of establishing good relations and cooperation between Indonesia and East Timor in the future".

Alwi stated on Tuesday that Indonesia would not allow its generals to be tried overseas. (byg)

----- Jakarta Post December 11, 1999

Military men deplore comments made by rights commission

JAKARTA (JP): Top military officers and their legal consultants on Friday slammed a government-sanctioned inquiry for making biased remarks on the military's involvement in violence in East Timor.

During a preparatory meeting between military officers who are due to be questioned by the Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses in East Timor, they questioned what they called one-sided statements concerning the military's role in East Timor.

"We expected the government-sponsored commission to work honestly and accurately, but as we all already know, what the commission has revealed to the public is excessive and has gone beyond the judicial process itself," Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security Gen. Wiranto said. Wiranto, former TNI Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Zacky Anwar Makarim, former East Timor Military commanders Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, Maj. Gen. Tono Suratman and former ministry of defense expert staff Maj. Gen. Sjafrie Syamsuddin, gathered with their lawyers and legal consultants here to discuss preparations for their meeting with the inquiry later this month.

The inquiry, headed by National Commission on Human Rights member Albert Hasibuan, has alleged that the military was either directly or indirectly involved in violence in East Timor which transpired following the Aug. 30 ballot.

"We have lost the territory (East Timor), lost our best sons, caused many to become orphans and widows from the Seroja operation, and now we are still being aspersed with these groundless accusations," Wiranto said.

In Friday's meeting, the generals briefed their legal advisors on their respective roles in East Timor.

The eight-hour consultation, which was described by Wiranto as "a mere preliminary meeting or brainstorming", was held at the newly founded Habibie Center at BNI Tower, Central Jakarta.

Also present at the closed-door meeting were military police chief Maj. Gen. Djasri Marin and military spokesman Maj. Gen. Sudrajat.

The 15-member legal team representing them includes big-name lawyers such as Adnan Buyung Nasution, Ruhut Sitompul, Hotma Sitoempoel, M. Assegaf and Hartono Mardjono.

Former minister of justice Muladi, who was not present on Friday, has also been appointed an legal adviser.

Nasution remarked that "truth and justice have been twisted in the case". "There have been too many statements made by the commission which we are afraid will form misleading public opinion. Many have said that the our military generals are killers," he said.

Nasution further questioned the commission's authority, including its right to summon the generals.

"Does it have the authority to summon and question these generals? We can't let the commission shape public opinion through sensational statements. And if later there is a trial for these generals, this should be a closed one and its members should not argue about that, that's the rule," he said without elaborating.

In a separate development, the members of the commission met Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono to seek his support to "order and summon" leaders of the armed prointegration militia.

Juwono said he would pass on the request to the military chief and the local East Timor military commander to help bring armed militia leaders to Jakarta to testify.

"If possible, they will be in Jakarta before Christmas," Juwono said.

When asked whether the visit also related to the summoning of the TNI generals, Juwono remarked that the military commanders had already agreed to be questioned.

"Pak Wiranto has agreed to meet the commission, which I believe will happen in the next several days," he said. (emf)


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