Subject: Belo demands Wiranto be tried for East Timor atrocities

Belo demands Wiranto be tried for East Timor atrocities

DILI, East Timor, Oct 28 (AFP) - Nobel peace laureate Bishop Carlos Belo on Thursday demanded former Indonesian defence minister General Wiranto be hauled before an international tribunal to account for atrocities in East Timor.

"General Wiranto, General Syafri, General Damiri -- all these people must be put in an international tribunal", Belo told AFP in an interview from his home in Dili.

"If there is any kind of international tribunal the United Nations should create a commission for these people."

Wiranto was army chief and defence minister when elements of the Indonesian military and pro-Indonesia militias went on a bloody rampage across East Timor in September following a massive vote in favour of independence.

Earlier this week he stepped down from the military and was appointed coordinating minister for politics and security affairs in the new government of President Abdurrahman Wahid.

General Syafri Samsuddin was a former chief of operations at the military's headquarters in Jakarta, while General Adam Damiri was in charge of the Bali-based command which used to oversee East Timor.

When asked if he expected a formal apology from the Indonesian military for the death and destruction in East Timor, Belo said: "Yes. It is necessary to educate the people of the Indonesian army. If they are still savage it is necessary to educate these people."

But Belo took a more conciliatory position towards native East Timorese who participated in the violence, calling on them to apologise to their fellow countrymen and reintegrate into the society of the new country.

"For me they must state publicly that they are guilty, that they are involved, that they committed crimes against humanity and against the East Timor people.

"They must kneel down and kiss the feet of the people of Timor and after that we will receive them as brothers and sisters and they can come back," he said.

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has set up a five-member investigation team to look into gross human rights abuses that occurred in East Timor following the August 30 UN-sponsored ballot in which the people of the territory voted nearly four-to-one to break free of Indonesia.

A resolution to set up the inquiry was passed by the UN Human Rights Commission in September, but it was opposed by Indonesia and many Asian nations including China, the Philippines and Japan.

The Indonesian government has set up its own investigation team, from the national commission on human rights, to probe the violence in East Timor and officials have said that any outside investigation should coordinate their efforts with the Indonesian panel.

The UN commission is due to present a report to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by December 31 and could recommend the setting up of an international war crimes tribunal similar to those for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.


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