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Indonesia urged to study Aceh amnesty cases BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) - The head of the international peace monitoring mission in Aceh urged Indonesia on Tuesday to examine the cases of around 100 prisoners who may have been missed under a sweeping amnesty vital to peace efforts. Dutch diplomat Peter Feith called on Jakarta to quickly study whether the detainees had a real claim to amnesty and said he would use his powers to rule on any disputed cases.

"If there is no agreement, it is up to the head of mission to take a view on this," said Feith, head of the European Union-led civilian Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), which also draws staff from five Asian states, Norway and Switzerland. Some 2,000 jailed members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) are expected to be covered by an amnesty issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in late August.

The amnesty is a key plank of a peace deal agreed earlier in August after GAM gave up its demand for independence in tsunami-devastated Aceh province, effectively ending three decades of fighting that has killed 15,000 people. Feith said he was confident Jakarta would rule fairly on the remaining cases but said the task was complicated because some of the detainees could be suspects linked to the September 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta that killed 10.

The 226-strong unarmed AMM mission, launched last month, is the EU's first such operation in Asia and is a part of the bloc's efforts to become a global security player. Feith said an initial round of decommissioning of GAM weapons in September had yielded around 240 arms, with Indonesia reciprocating by withdrawing some 6,000 troops from Aceh.

"These initial results are satisfying," he said, adding that he expected a second phase to start on Oct. 15 and yield a similar amount of decommissioned arms and troop withdrawals. The mandate of the AMM mission is strictly controlled by the Indonesian government, which faced nationalist criticism that it was giving foreigners too great a role in peace efforts.

Feith said he expected EU member states to study in December or January the scope for extending the six-month mission.



Posted in Aceh conflict @ 05 October 2005 07:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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