Fri, 14 Jan 2000

Generals' lawyers ready for international court

JAKARTA (JP): The legal defense team representing Army top brass under scrutiny for violence in East Timor said on Thursday they were ready to face legal proceedings including, if necessary, an international tribunal.

"We're ready to face the international court. If the generals are found guilty as charged, then just file it," former justice minister Muladi, a senior consultant for the team, told journalists.

"I believe the generals are also ready as they have the spirit of patriots. But it's too premature to charge them as suspects," Muladi said after accompanying former coordinating minister for political affairs and security Feisal Tanjung who was questioned here by the government-sanctioned Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM) in East Timor.

There has been strong pressure from several sides to hold an international tribunal to hold those responsible for the violence which erupted after the Aug. 30 ballot in East Timor accountable.

Indonesia has rejected the idea of an international tribunal and instead formed its own inquiry.

In reaction to the accusations, top military brass summoned by the inquiry, which included former Indonesian Military chief Gen. Wiranto, have sought the services of top defense lawyers and legal consultants.

Muladi revealed that the team had been brushing up on international law, especially parts pertaining to the international court.

"The process to form an international court on human rights abuses takes quite a long time. There are procedures and requirements. So, it's too early to be discussed (now)," he said.


Meanwhile, Feisal Tanjung, during the questioning and later to the media, claimed that he knew nothing of the infamous "Garnadi Paper", a document signed by Feisal's former assistant, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Garnadi, allegedly detailing the plan of action should East Timorese reject the autonomy option.

"I have never seen the so-called Garnadi Paper nor read it ... and I don't want to know a single thing about it," he retorted.

Separately, the inquiry's chairman, Albert Hasibuan, recalled that during the closed one-hour questioning Feisal said: "I refused to receive the paper".

Hasibuan revealed that although Feisal's answers and statements were contrary to the commission's findings, they would not summon him again. "Instead of questioning him again, we will visit East Timor later next week for a final check."

He added that the inquiry had sought permission from the United Transitional Authority for East Timor (UNTAET) to hold a postmortem examination on slain Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes. (01)