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Prosecutors urge arrest of Wiranto JAKARTA - Prosecutors in East Timor have intensified their push for the arrest of former Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) commander Wiranto, citing "voluminous" evidence that he failed to prevent crimes against humanity in the territory in 1999. The deputy general prosecutor for serious crimes last Thursday (19/3/04) filed a 92-page court brief to the UN-sponsored Serious Crimes Unit in support of its application for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Wiranto.
Indonesian troops and their local militia proxies unleashed carnage in East Timor before and after the territory voted in August 1999 to secede from Indonesia. The soldiers and militias staged a series of deadly attacks on independence supporters in an effort to intimidate locals not to vote for secession in a UN-sponsored referendum. Massacres, devastating looting and arson attacks continued until after the arrival of a UN-sanctioned international peacekeeping force in September 1999.
TNI has denied orchestrating the mayhem, claiming it was due to “spontaneous” conflicts erupting between pro-Indonesia militias and the independence movement’s armed wing Falintil. Wiranto, who is seeking to become Golkar Party's candidate for the July 5 presidential election, insists he did his best to prevent the violence. He has said the allegations against him are part of an effort to thwart his bid for the presidency. Foreign accusations of human rights abuse carry little weight among mainstream Indonesian voters and could even enhance Wiranto’s status in a Muslim-majority nation that remains critical of US-led military actions around the world.
The new brief comes more than a year after the deputy general prosecutor for serious crimes on February 24, 2003, filed an indictment and an application requesting arrest warrants for Wiranto and seven other high-level suspects. Since then, East Timor's Serious Crimes Unit has so far granted only one warrant. Wiranto is accused of individual criminal responsibility - under the doctrine of command responsibility - for the crimes against humanity of murder, persecution and deportation.
The brief states that Wiranto had the ability to control pro-Indonesia militias in East Timor but failed to do so. “The fact that the Indonesian military had selected, formed, trained, funded and armed the militias leads to the inescapable conclusion that the top Indonesian leadership had the ability to control militia activities,” says the brief. “Wiranto’s ability to control the pro-autonomy militias is patently evident from his own statement that he could disarm the militias.”
The brief quotes Ian Martin, special representative to the UN secretary general, as saying: "I clearly recall General Wiranto telling me that if Falintil was ready to surrender its weapons to the Indonesian Police, he could guarantee the militia would be disarmed within two days ... I believe this was not the only occasion General Wiranto said this." Indonesia has refused to hand over any suspects for trial in East Timor, although analysts say Wiranto could face arrest in certain countries if an arrest warrant is forwarded to Interpol.
Reports in January said the US State Department had put Wiranto and five other Indonesian officers on a visa watchlist barring them from entering the country because of their alleged involvement in crimes against humanity. The retired general responded to the news by saying he had no interest in visiting the US. According to UN data, the 1999 violence in East Timor resulted in the killing of 1,500 civilians, while about 70% of the territory's buildings were destroyed and 200,000 East Timorese were deported or forcibly transferred to Indonesian West Timor. Most have since returned.
In response to international pressure to bring those accused of responsibility for the carnage to justice, Indonesia established a special human rights court to hear cases against 18 defendants. Activists complained that several senior generals suspected of responsibility for the carnage, including Wiranto, were not on the list. The court ended up acquitting 12 members of the security forces and a civilian. Six defendants were found guilty and sentenced to jail terms ranging from three to 10 years, although all faced the death penalty. All six remain free pending lengthy appeal processes.
Following is the text of a statement issued by Nicholas Koumjian, deputy prosecutor general for serious crimes, on the brief calling for the arrest warrant against Wiranto.



Posted in Crime @ 24 March 2004 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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