Subject: UN Distances Itself From Report On East Timor War Crimes

Associated Press April 20, 2001

UN Distances Itself From Report On East Timor War Crimes

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. officials in East Timor Friday distanced themselves from a report that accuses senior Indonesian army generals of masterminding the wave of violence that swept the territory after an independence vote in 1999.

James Dunn, a former Australian consul to East Timor, prepared the 60-page report for U.N. prosecutors who are conducting their own investigation into crimes against humanity.

Details of the report were published in the Australian media Friday.

U.N. chief prosecutor Mohamed Othman criticized the content, structure and conclusions of Dunn's report.

He said it lacked hard and original evidence and didn't reflect the position of an ongoing U.N. investigation, which is expected to indict as many as 400 suspects, including some top Indonesian military officers.

Othman said Dunn had been engaged as a consultant by East Timor's U.N. administration, but he had no official status within the world body.

"It is his own report and reflects his own views," said Othman.

Dunn wasn't immediately available for comment Friday.

Othman said prosecutors had asked Dunn to write the report with the aim of submitting it as evidence to future war crimes trials.

However, this was now in doubt.

"Making the report public has diminished its effectiveness as a legal document as it can now be challenged for prejudicing our investigation," he said.

Progress toward bringing those responsible for East Timor's devastation to justice has been slow and uncertain.

Under a U.N. directive, Indonesia is to prosecute members of it's military and civilian administration for crimes against humanity in East Timor.

Indonesia's attorney general's office has prepared a list of 23 potential suspects. However, no formal charges have been filed.

Othman said the United Nations still hoped that Jakarta would take action.

"We will increase the pressure on Indonesia to cooperate with our investigation," said Othman.

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