Sat, 04 Aug 2001

Decree sanctions ad hoc tribunal

JAKARTA (JP): President Megawati Soekarnoputri has issued a decree that authorizes an ad hoc court in Central Jakarta to try those suspected of committing crimes against humanity in the 1984 Tanjungpriok and 1999 East Timor tragedies.

The ad hoc court was established in March during the administration of former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

"The just-issued Presidential Decree No. 96/2001 gives the court the special authority to try these cases," said Bambang Kesowo, the Vice President's secretary, when announcing the decree in Jakarta on Friday.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has revealed that 33 people were killed in the 1984 Tanjungpriok incident when security authorities opened fire on protesters demanding the release of their colleagues.

The alleged crimes against humanity in East Timor occurred following a referendum that resulted in the independence of East Timor from Indonesia in 1999. The high profile case implicated top Indonesian military leaders, including Gen. Wiranto, the former Indonesian Military chief.

Benjamin Mangkoedilaga, chairman of the team preparing the ad hoc trial of East Timor human rights abuses, said on Monday that the much-awaited trial would start next month.

He said that the team were in the process of selecting the judges.

The team, which consists of Benjamin, Laica Marzuki, Said Harahap and Rifyal Kabah, set up in July has been given three months to prepare the trials. (dja/pan)