|Subject: AFP: Ex-Indonesian military chief
supports Timor rights trial
Received from Joyo Indonesian News
Ex-Indonesian military chief supports Timor rights trial
JAKARTA, Jan 15 (AFP) - Former Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto said Tuesday he supports a special tribunal for senior military officers accused of human rights abuses in East Timor in 1999.
"We fully support it (the tribunal) as long as it is carried out in a fair, honest, and open manner so that the truth will prevail," Wiranto was quoted by the state Antara news agency as saying.
"We respect human rights and issues related to them. We want the issue to be resolved properly," he said.
Wiranto led the armed forces when military-backed East Timorese militia led an orgy of killings and destruction in the months surrounding East Timor's break from Jakarta's rule in 1999.
He is not among the suspects despite suggestions by human rights groups that he was morally responsible for the violence.
The militia gangs killed hundreds of people, burnt towns to the ground, destroyed 80 percent of the half-island's infrastructure and forced or led more than a quarter of a million villagers into Indonesian-ruled West Timor.
Wiranto however said he feared that the ad hoc courts, which may start sitting next month, would be "biased and manipulated".
President Megawati Sukarnoputri has named judges for the tribunal, which is expected to be closely watched by the international community.
Three army generals, a police general and several middle-ranking officers are among the 18 suspects who are facing trial for alleged gross rights violations.
Among them are Major-General Adam Damiri, who headed the Bali-based Udayana military command overseeing East Timor in 1999; Brigadier-General Suhartono Suratman and Brigadier-General M. Nur Muis; former commanders of the Dili military; Colonel Yayat Sudradjat, the former head of the much-feared Tribuana Task Force, and former East Timor police chief Brigadier-General Timbul Silaen.
The United Nations dropped demands for an international tribunal to try offenders after Indonesia promised to hold its own hearings.
The United States refuses to lift its embargo on most military-to-military contacts until offenders are brought to book.
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