Subject: UN Files First Rape Indictments Vs Indonesians In E Timor

Associated Press February 6, 2001

UN Files First Rape Indictments Vs Indonesians In E Timor

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. prosecutors Tuesday filed multiple rape charges against an Indonesian army officer and two anti-independence militia leaders, in what is a legal first for East Timor.

The men allegedly committed the attacks during a wave of violence before and after a 1999 referendum in which the vast majority of East Timorese voted to break away from Indonesian rule.

"This is the first time we have filed indictments for sexual crimes," said U.N. chief prosecutor Mohamed Othman after the indictments were filed at the Dili District Court.

Those accused are Indonesian army 2nd Lt. Bambang Indra and militia fighters Jose Cardoso Fereira and Francisco Noronha.

The three allegedly detained and repeatedly raped three women between May and July 1999 in the town of Lolatoi, 100 kilometers southwest of Dili.

Prosecutors say the suspects later abducted the women and took them to Indonesian-controlled West Timor, where they were forcibly injected with contraceptives.

The three men as well as two other militia members, Jhoni France and Sabino Leite, were also charged with other crimes against humanity including murder, torture and kidnapping.

The five are accused of beating and killing pro-independence supporters between May and Sept 1999. In one incident, the suspects cut off the ear of a victim and forced him to eat it, the prosecutors allege.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed by Indonesia and the U.N. administration in East Timor, suspects can be transferred between the two jurisdictions to face charges. However, to date, this has not happened.

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