Subject: RA: RI Rejects UN Demands to Punish TNI Officers for Atrocities

TAPOL Comment: How is that seeking justice for the perpetrators of crimes against humanity can be seen as pulling people apart rather than drawing them together?

So many Indonesian military officers are continuing on active service, enjoying impunity for so many crimes. This only means that they have the confidence to go on treating their people with utter disregard for the consequences of their actions. TAPOL

Radio Australia June 30, 2005 -transcript-

TIMOR: Indonesia rejects UN demands to pursue TNI officers accused of attrocities

The Indonesian Government has flatly rejected a United Nations demand that it punishes the military officers accused of masterminding the atrocities in East Timor in 1999.

BARKER: In the pre-independence bloodshed that ravaged East Timor in 1999, more than 14-hundred people were killed, many of them in massacres. Thousands of people were forcibly deported, many more disappeared, countless women were raped and buildings everywhere were destroyed, as Indonesian-led militia gangs laid East Timor to waste.

Yet six years on, no-one outside of East Timor has served any real sentence for their part in the atrocities and those who are in jail are mostly Timorese militia members who've been under the command of more senior Indonesian officers.

Under international pressure, Indonesia did set up a special ad hoc human rights court which has tried 18 military and police commanders, but virtually all have been acquitted. Many more suspects were never prosecuted in Indonesia and only charged in absentia by UN prosecutors in Dili, among them is no less than the former head of Indonesia's armed forces, General Wiranto.

In frustration, the United Nations earlier this year established a commission of experts to examine why those who bore the greatest responsibility for the violence have never been punished. Its confidential report is damming.

MALE: The Commission has concluded that the prosecutions before the ad hoc court were manifestly inadequate, primarily due to a lack of commitment on the part of the prosecution.

BARKER: Indeed, most of the prosecution witnesses, the report said, who testified, had been indicted themselves, individuals affiliated to the Indonesian army or government officials. And it went on.

MALE: The failure to investigate and prosecute the defendants in a credible manner has not achieved accountability of those who bare the greatest responsibility for serious violations. Many aspects of the ad hoc judicial process reveal scant respect for relevant international standards.

BARKER: The report accuses Indonesian prosecutors of conducting deficient investigations or presenting inadequate evidence at the trials and of the judges it said:

MALE: The court room atmosphere did not provide for a credible judicial forum that would inspire confidence in the public mind.

BARKER: The UN Commission recommends that Indonesia be given six months to put on trial or retry those accused of destroying East Timor, or submit to an international war crimes tribunal in an independent country.

But not even East Timor supports the move and instead both nations recently established a Truth Commission which would focus on reconciliation and drop all charges against those yet to be tried.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Jakarta, Marty Natalegawa, says an international tribunal would only damage relations between Indonesia and East Timor.

NATALEGAWA: The idea of having an international tribunal is probably the most unrealistic and the most unsound recommendation that they could ever possibly identify. It simply, utterly fails to recognise that the two countries concerned -Indonesia and Timor Leste, not only have they tried their level best to restore the matter to their national judicial process, but also have created this Commission of Truth and Reconciliation to provide closure to the whole issue.

BARKER: Does Indonesia care whether those responsible for the violence in East Timor are brought to justice?

NATALEGAWA: Absolutely. It's in our very interest in wanting to have a closure and to ensure that there's no impunities. Why we say that is because the Indonesia today is far different from what it was before. But it has to be some process which actually brings Indonesia and Timor Lestia even closer together rather than become a source of friction between us.

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