Subject: JP: No gross human rights abuses in East Timor, Wiranto tells Truth Commission

Also Truth body hears of unnamed dead

No gross human rights abuses in East Timor, Wiranto tells Truth Commission

JAKARTA (JP): Former Indonesian Military Commander Wiranto said Saturday there was no gross human rights abuses in East Timor after the 1999 referendum, which made possible for the territory to separate from Indonesia.

Wiranto was speaking before members of the Commission on Truth and Friendship set up by the governments of East Timor and Indonesia in connection with violence in East Timor, which was reportedly killing hundreds of people.

According to Wiranto, who was also defense minister when the incident occurred, the post-referendum violence was part of a civil war in East Timor or now Timor Leste, which had occurred inthe former Portuguese's colony since 1974, MetroTV television reported.

He stressed that the absence of gross human rights abuses in the territory was confirmed by an ad hoc court set up by Indonesian government to try those, who were allegedly involved in the incident.

Previously, the commission had also heard testimonies from a number of public figures from both countries including Former President B.J. Habibie, and former Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo.

The commission whose members are representatives from both Indonesia and East Timor will issue a recommendation, but it has no right to prosecute anyone. (**)


Truth body hears of unnamed dead

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A member of the now defunct Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM) in East Timor testified Friday the bodies of 39 victims were recovered in the territory around the time of the 1999 independence vote.

Insp. Gen. (ret.) Koesparmono Irsan was testifying in Jakarta during a hearing of the Indonesia-Timor Leste Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF).

He was among the former officials and victims testifying on the third day of the planned four-day session of the commission.

Friday's hearing was, to many, only a prelude to the much awaited session Saturday with former Indonesian Military chief Gen. (ret.) Wiranto.

Koesparmono did not offer any information on the identities of the victims or who may have carried out the killings.

"I only worked as a middleman and a witness for the commission. Identifying the victims was not my job.

"It was the Attorney General's Office that should have followed up on the KPP HAM's recommendation. I was just required to obtain evidence on alleged rights violations," he said.

The rights investigation body was established by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), of which Koesparmono was also a member. It delivered its final report on Jan. 31, 2000, to Komnas HAM and the Attorney General's Office.

Truth commission member Achmad Ali agreed with Koesparmono, saying: "Koesparmono was asked by the KPP HAM to find evidence of any human rights violations. He did not have the capacity to conclude who the guilty party was."

The former secretary-general of the rights investigation body, Asmara Nababan, however, said Koesparmono, as a member of the commission, had the authority to investigate the identities of the victims and perpetrators.

"KPP HAM was responsible to Komnas HAM, the Attorney General's Office and the public," Asmara told the Post.

In other testimony Friday, Bertha dos Santos, 30, said her husband, a farmer in Liquica district, Timor Leste, was killed and mutilated by pro-independence supporters on March 6, 1999.

She said her husband was accused by villagers of being a spy for pro-Indonesia groups.

"When my husband, Alarico Lopes, was still alive, those pro-independence groups used to always ask us for Rp 10,000 to Rp 25,000 although we were poor," said Bertha, who now lives in Atambua district, in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.

Bertha said she did not know where the body of her husband was buried.

"I ask this joint commission to find my husband's grave. For eight years, I haven't had any information on where he was buried."

Achmad Ali of the truth commission said there was little it could do to find the grave.

"We could try to ask for help in finding where her husband was buried. But we cannot guarantee anything," he said.

In addition to Wiranto, today's final session is scheduled to hear from former Dili Police chief Insp. Gen. (ret.) G.M. Timbul Silaen, pro-Indonesia supporter Luisa Alves Almeida and former militia commander Cancio Lopes da Carvalho.

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