Thu, 06 Mar 2003

19 judges to try Bali bomb cases

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

Nineteen judges are to oversee the trial of suspects in the Bali bombing case at the Denpasar District Court later this month, a court official said on Wednesday.

The judges would preside over the court hearings of around 30 suspects the police have named in connection with the Bali bombing on Oct. 12, 2002, which killed at least 202 people.

Denpasar court spokesman Ida Bagus Diwyantara said the judges had not been assigned yet.

"It is under the authority of the court chief," he said.

So far, he said, the court had prepared three rooms for the hearing and raised the iron fences around its complex to 2.5 meters for security reasons. Police would be fully in charge of security, he added.

Expecting a huge turnout of spectators, the court was also considering holding the hearing outside the Denpasar District Court, he said.

It had three options: the local government-owned Nari Graha building, the basketball field in Tembau, and the Praja Raksaka field owned by the Udayana Kepaon military command overseeing the province of Bali.

Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Suyatmo said the judges would likely be accorded VIP police security measures.

"We will have at least two officers assigned to each judge, but this will also depend on whether the judges want it," he said.

For now, police continued to mull over the security strategy, he said, explaining that intelligence reports about the situation was still being gathered.

The first to go to trial will be Amrozi, one of the four key suspects in the case. He is charged of purchasing the materials for building the explosives, transporting the materials to Bali and helping to assemble the bombs.