Subject: AFP: Activists condemn East Timor suspects list, UN expects more names

Friday, September 1 7:15 PM SGT

Activists condemn East Timor suspects list, UN expects more names

JAKARTA, Sept 1 (AFP) -

Indonesian investigators were condemned by rights activists Friday for omitting top Indonesian generals and notorious militia leaders from a list of suspects in last year's bloodshed in East Timor.

However the UN's top administrator in East Timor welcomed the list as "a very good beginning" and a sign that "the glass is half full" in efforts to put on trial those responsible for the violence.

Three generals and three little known militia members were among the names of 19 "provisional suspects" read out by Indonesia's chief investigator Friday.

But notably absent were former military chief General Wiranto and feared ex-militia leader Eurico Guterres.

Indonesia's Legal Aid and Human Rights Association said the people "most responsible" for rights violations in East Timor had been left off the list.

"This list shows that the legal process has in fact become into a tool for those most responsible to avoid prosecution," the Association said in a publicly-issued statement.

Human rights lawyer Johnson Panjaitan said the 78-member investigation team who came up with the list after four months of inquiries had been compromised by the presence of police and military representatives on the team.

"They were deeply influenced, they didn't have the courage to name people who should take most responsibility, like the top armed forces commanders," Panjaitan told AFP.

The UN's chief administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, described the list as a "very good beginning, but only a beginning."

De Mello was in Jakarta for talks with President Abdurrahman Wahid, senior ministers and top military officers when the list was announced.

He said neither the Attorney General Marzuki Darusman nor the Indonesian government should be blamed "if all the names are not there yet."

"It is true it always difficult to fill the glass in the first announcement," he told reporters as he emerged from the talks.

"For us the glass is half full and will continue to be filled. That was clearly the message Marzuki (Darusman) gave me when I met with him yesterday."

"We have medium to senior level names on that list. More will follow I understand," de Mello said.

He said he disagreed with suggestions the Indonesian investigation had been insufficient.

"We need to move from the bottom up. The same happened in Rwanda, the same happened in the former Yugoslavia," he said.

Chief investigator Muhammed Abdul Rachman said the names he read out Friday were "provisional suspects" who would be summonsed and questioned again next Tuesday.

Rachman said the possibility of more suspects being named in "ongoing investigations" was "not closed."

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said the 19 would "definitely" be indicted as suspects after Tuesdays' questioning.

Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab said it was too soon to judge if Indonesia would be subjected to heightened pressure to allow an international tribunal to try the cases.

"We have to see first, to investigate what sort of objections from the international community because (general) Wiranto's name is not there," he said after meeting de Mello.

"Let us ask Mr. Marzuki (Darusman) what is behind his decision, or the decision of the group who investigated the matter."

Asked if he was embarrassed that many high profile names were not on the list, he replied "No comment."

Mr Shihab said last week he had been embarrassed by a constitutional amendment which prevents the trials under laws that didn't exist when a crime was committed.

Indonesia has been under intense international pressure to hold trials for crimes committed in East Timor, since a UN inquiry earlier this year concluded that army personnel were directly involved in the violence.

During a recent visit to Jakarta, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson reiterated that the UN would call an international war crimes tribunal if Jakarta failed to bring the perpetrators of the Timor violence to trial.

The wave of violence, arson and murder launched by Indonesian-backed militias following the September 4 announcement of the overwhelming 78.5 percent vote for independence in East Timor left more than 600 dead and the small half-island's infrastructure in ruins.

More than 200,000 people were pushed out of the territory at gunpoint before UN-sanctioned troops arrived to quell the violence.

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