Sat, 25 Jan 2003

GAM, RI charged over truce violations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Joint Security Committee (JSC) responsible for overseeing the implementation of the peace accord in Aceh has sanctioned both the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and Indonesia for serious violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed by both sides in Geneva on Dec. 9, 2002.

The tripartite body implementing the peace accord handed down sanctions against GAM for two serious violations committed by its members and against Indonesia for one serious violation committed by security personnel.

The JSC noted that the three cases marked the first time ever that both sides had publicly admitted their own wrongdoing since the signing of the peace accord.

"Both sides came together to agree that the conduct by members of their respective sides in the field was unacceptable and violated the peace agreement. This not only shows faith in the process, it's also a huge symbolic step toward making Aceh a safe and peaceful place to live," Gen. Tanongsuk Tuvinun, JSC Senior Envoy, said in a statement the Henry Dunant Centre (HDC) made available to The Jakarta Post here on Friday.

GAM was sanctioned for two serious violations -- an attack by rebels on eight security personnel in Lokop, East Aceh, on Jan. 14, and an armed attack on two soldiers in Lammo, West Aceh, on Jan. 16.

A soldier was killed and another one was injured in the Lokop incident, while one soldier was wounded in the Lammo incident.

Indonesia was sanctioned for intimidation arising out of an incident where a member of the Mobile Brigade paramilitary police threatened a GAM representative on a monitoring team while he and the team's driver were witnessing a confrontation between students and security personnel in Bireuen on Jan. 14.

Tuvinun, however, said that the joint committee he was chairing had entrusted both sides to impose physical sanctions against the truce violators.

"It is now up to each party to discipline the violators ... This is about recognizing the problems, taking steps to fix them and making the process accountable to the people of Aceh," he explained.

He said the JSC, which according to the peace accord has the authority to investigate all manner of truce violations and to prosecute violators, would look into all violations of the accord.

Indonesia has recorded some 50 violations committed by GAM and they have been filed with the tripartite monitoring committee for further investigation.