Subject: JP: Indon military officer denounces int'l community over rights trial

The Jakarta Post

July 2, 2003

Military officer denounces int'l community over rights trial

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Rights tribunal defendant Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri slammed the international community on Tuesday for pressuring Indonesia to bring to justice government officials and military personnel responsible for bloody riots in East Timor before and after the 1999 referendum there.

Adam, the last and highest-ranking military officer to appear before the ad hoc human rights tribunal, told the court on Tuesday he was concerned that "the international audience is not neutral".

"Some of them act as judges or referees who have their own rules and perceptions, while some others are willing to develop a giant gang to play a political game in East Timor according to their own perceptions," Adam said.

Adam is the last of 12 military and police personnel brought to court for the mayhem in East Timor. Prosecutors demanded on June 5 that Adam be acquitted because the court had failed to prove the charges against him.

Adam's lawyers, who took turns reading out a 505-page defense statement, also blasted calls from the international community to bring the East Timor atrocities to an international tribunal.

They singled out the U.S. and Australia, "which act as the human rights defenders of the world".

The enactment of Law No. 26/2000 on human rights, they said, was a sign of the international pressure on Indonesia.

The rights tribunal was established to deflect pressure for an international tribunal to look into the bloodshed in East Timor. The tribunal has acquitted 11 defendants, mostly police and military members.

Five people, including two Army officers, have been found guilty but remain free pending appeals.

Adam, who headed the regional military command that oversaw East Timor at the time of the referendum in August 1999, called the press a "pro-Portuguese chicken media that cackled all around", blaming the media for blowing up reports that made it seem the military was responsible for the violence.

In his defense statement, titled a loyalty to duty and the voice of a child of the nation, Adam also lambasted human rights defenders for criticizing troops in East Timor, calling these activists "a group with a loud voice, crazy thinking and black motives".

Adam's lawyers also questioned human rights defenders who remained silent during the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

"Apparently they support foreign countries, which claim to be defenders of human rights," the lawyers said,

Hundreds of people are believed to have died in East Timor when pro-Jakarta militias, allegedly backed by the military, went on a rampage in 1999, destroying almost 90 percent of the infrastructure in the former Indonesian province.

Prosecutors have charged Adam with gross human rights violations for his failure to prevent the bloodshed.

The court is expected to issue a verdict on Aug. 5.

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