Subject: AU: Kopassus chief in clear over E Timor

The Australian

June 10, 2004 Thursday All-round Country Edition

Kopassus chief in clear over E Timor

Sian Powell * Jakarta correspondent

THE acquittal of an Indonesian military commander accused of human rights breaches in East Timor in 1999 has been upheld by the Supreme Court in Jakarta, prompting activists to again condemn the entire process as a whitewash.

Of the many East Timor human rights cases it has reviewed so far, the Supreme Court has convicted just one man: an East Timorese civil official, and he has yet to be jailed.

In a split decision, the court this week upheld the acquittal of Dili district commander Lieutenant-Colonel Endar Priyanto.

Earlier acquitted by the Ad Hoc Tribunal on Human Rights, Liuetenant-Colonel Priyanto was originally charged with having permitted soldiers under his command to connive at the murder and torture of East Timorese independence supporters in the house of independence leader Manuel Vegas Carrascalao, on April 17, 1999.

Lieutenant-Colonel Priyanto, a special forces Kopassus commander, had been accused of crimes against humanity for failing to prevent the violence that roared through East Timor in 1999.

The Indonesian military and their militia proxies have been found responsible for the violent deaths of as many as 1400 East Timorese, countless rapes and assaults, the forced deportation of one-quarter of the population and the destruction of most government buildings in the half-island.

The slaughter of 12 people in the Carrascalao house, including the leader's teenage son, was a watershed in the violence that blanketed East Timor during that bloody year.

The Supreme Court has already reviewed most of the 18 cases heard by the tribunal, and upheld the conviction only of former East Timor governor Abilio Soares.


BBC Monitoring International Reports

Source: Koran Tempo web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 9 Jun 04

June 9, 2004


Jakarta: The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the public prosecutor in respect of the defendant Lt-Col Endar Priyanto who was prosecuted for human rights violations in East Timor. (passage omitted) "Our decision was to reject the appeal as the prosecutor was unable to prove that the decision of the Ad Hoc Human rights Tribunal in Jakarta was to find Endar innocent on all counts (bebas murni )," Justice Arbijoto told Koran Tempo yesterday (8 June).

Arbijoto explained that one of the panel's considerations was that there was no chain of command between Endar as the defendant and crimes alleged to have been committed in East Timor. The prosecutor had claimed that Endar as the 1627 District Military Commander had a chain of command relationship with the Red and White Iron militia (neighbourhood security apparatus). However, the Supreme Court panel decided that there was no chain of command. (passage omitted)

Yan Juanda Saputra, a member of Endar's defence team, said the Supreme Court decision was in accordance with the law. His client, as the district military Commander, did not have a chain of command relationship with the commander of the militias. "The militia was under the regional government, not under the command of our client as the district military commander," he said. Therefore, his client had conducted his tasks in accordance with the law. (passage omitted)

Yan requested all parties respect the decision. "We believe that all parties must be objective in viewing this decision," he said.

At the court of first instance, the prosecutor requested Endar be sentenced to 10 years in prison. (passage omitted) However, the court of the first instance freed the defendant. The prosecutor then appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which rejected the prosecutor's appeal.

This is the fifth appeal by prosecutors to be rejected.

Previously, the Supreme Court has rejected appeals in human rights cases against the former East Timor police chief, Brig-Gen Timbul G. Silaen; the former regent of Covalima, Herman Sedyono; the former Tribuana commander, Yayat Sudrajat; and the former 1638 District Military commander in Liquica, Lt-Col Asep Kuswani.

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