Subject: AFP: Militia leaders to skip trials for East Timor violence

Agence France-Presse (AFP) Date: 25 Apr 2001

Militia leaders to skip trials for East Timor violence

JAKARTA, April 25 (AFP) - Four East Timorese militia leaders named suspects in the 1999 East Timor violence have been omitted from the final dossiers that Indonesian prosecutors will present for trial, a spokesman for the prosecutors said Wednesday.

"Four suspects have not been included in the final dossiers" to be presented to an ad-hoc human rights tribunal, attorney general's office spokesman Mulyoharjo (eds:one name) told AFP.

The suspects include Izidio Manek, accused of kidnapping East Timorese teenager Juliana dos Santos as a war prize from the border town of Suai at the height of the post-independence ballot violence.

Manek allegedly killed the girl's brother and lead an attack on Suai cathedral in which more than 100 refugees were slaughtered.

Mulyoharjo said Manek, along with Martinus Bere and Motornus (eds: one name) were omitted "because we haven't been able to find them."

Only last week Manek, along with dos Santos was presented by police to a group of Indonesian journalists on a military-arranged visit to West Timor.

In his meeting with the journalists, Manek denied that he had kidnapped dos Santos and was holding her against her will, Australia's ABC Radio and Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Police had brought him, dos Santos and their baby from the Soe refugee camp, just inside Indonesian-ruled West Timor's border with East Timor, to the meeting.

Activists in East Timor, including the wife of East Timor's independence leader Xanana Gusmao, and international rights groups have been pressuring Indonesian authorities to intervene and free dos Santos so she can return home to her family.

Indonesian military officers in West Timor however say dos Santos followed Manek voluntarily and insist they cannot intervene.

Prosecutors have also omitted militia leader Vasco da Cruz from their final dossiers, Mulyoharjo said.

He said da Cruz's case could not be taken any further because it required the eyewitness testimony of Manek and Bere, who ignored prosecutors' summonses to appear for questioning after they were declared suspects.

Indonesia has been heavily criticised for failing to make any prosecutions over the wave of army-backed militia-led violence, in which a UN report says 2,000 people were killed.

The 12 dossiers cover 18 of the 23 suspects named by Indonesian prosecutors last year, including the head of the feared "Thorn" militia, Eurio Guterres.

Militia leader Olivio Mau was killed within days of his naming, reducing the list to 22.

Several senior police and military officers are in the dossiers, including Major General Adam Damiri, who was regional military commander at the time of the violence, and Colonel Tono Suratman, who was East Timor military commander.

Then military commander-in-chief General Wiranto was left off the list of suspects, even though an inquiry by Indonesia's own human rights commission had concluded he was "morally responsible" for the 1999 violence.

The dossiers will be handed over to an ad-hoc tribunal on human rights for trial, the final green light for which was given by President Abdurrahman Wahid this week.

Wahid issued a decree to establish the tribunal on Monday, six months after parliament first approved a bill allowing the prosecution of gross human rights violations.

Five judges -- yet to be named -- will sit on the tribunal, which will be based in the Central Jakarta district court, Mulyoharjo added.

Rights activists have said it could take several weeks until the tribunal is operational.

bc/kw/mtp AFP

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