Subject: Age:Timor report to be used in trials

The Age April 21, 2001

Timor report to be used in trials


The United Nations plans to use, in future trials, a report by special UN investigator James Dunn that identifies a conspiracy by Indonesian generals that led to a wave of violence in East Timor in 1999.

A UN spokesman in Dili said yesterday that Mr Dunn's explosive 60-page report was an "internal working document" that would be a reference for the UN's serious crimes unit.

The Age revealed yesterday that the report alleges a group of senior Indonesian officers planned the campaign of destruction, deportation and killings at least two months before the UN-supervised ballot to decide East Timor's future.

The report said the generals planned the violence to suppress popular support for independence and punish East Timorese for voting to break away from Indonesia.

It identified several high-ranking and still serving Indonesian officers who should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and recommended the prosecution of Indonesia's former military chief, General Wiranto.

Sources in Dili said the UN could soon announce the setting up of a tribunal with international jurisdiction to put on trial pro-Jakarta militia leaders and others, including Indonesian military officers.

But publication of Mr Dunn's report is expected to renew calls for an international war crimes tribunal with wider powers to hear East Timor cases.

UN officials have become increasingly frustrated with the failure of Indonesian authorities to fulfill repeated promises to bring those responsible to justice.

President Abdurrahman Wahid, fighting increasing calls for his resignation, has not given final approval for a special court in Jakarta to hear charges. UN officials suspect Indonesian authorities, under pressure from the military, are deliberately stalling prosecutions.

Sources said the UN had decided to keep Mr Dunn's report secret because of the risk of ruining negotiations between the UN and Indonesia on ways to disband refugee camps holding about 80,000 refugees in Indonesian West Timor.

Meanwhile, East Timor's independence leader, Jose "Xanana" Gusmao, issued a strong appeal for Indonesia to disarm and demobilise the militias responsible for continuing violence on the East Timor border.

"As long as the militias are not disarmed and are allowed to threaten the building of the democratic process in our country, the (UN) peacekeeping forces will continue to assist the East Timorese in the security and stability-building process of our people," he said.

Mr Gusmao said continuing an armed conflict in East Timor was futile. "Violence and war have never produced winners or losers. They only produce hostility, hatred, revenge and uncontrolled passions. There are still people in the world thirsty for blood like vampires."

He said East Timor was rebuilding from a "profound psychological trauma and human grievance".

Mr Gusmao pledged to work to improve relations with Indonesia.

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