Subject: JP: 'TNI not responsible for abuses'

Jakarta Post

January 9, 2003 Thursday

'TNI not responsible for abuses', JAKARTA POST

JAKARTA: Former justice minister Muladi said Wednesday that legal military personnel stationed in East Timor before, during and after the 1999 referendum were doing their job for the country and therefore could not be blamed for abuses by militia members.

"Military officers, who were just doing their duties, cannot be held responsible for fatalities in East Timor clashes in 1999 as long as their conduct was in line with standard operating procedures," Muladi said when testifying at a human rights trial against former East Timor military commander Noer Muis.

Noer is one of 18 military and police officers, and civilians brought to trial for gross human rights violations in East Timor in 1999.

In a separate hearing, Lt. Col. Hardiono Saroso told the court that Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, also a former East Timor military commander, had no prior knowledge of the April 17, 1999 rally organized by pro-Jakarta militias.

Following the rally, tens of militia members attacked pro- independence supporters taking refuge in the house of pro-independence leader Manuel Carascalao, killing at least 20 people, including Carascalao's son.

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