Tue, 21 Mar 2000

General's lawyers to visit prosecutors

JAKARTA (JP): A team of lawyers representing Indonesian Military (TNI) generals allegedly involved in last year's violence in East Timor is to visit the Attorney General's Office on Tuesday to clarify the planned questioning of its clients.

"We will meet with the Deputy Attorney General for General Crimes (A. Rahman) at 2 p.m. tomorrow to clarify the planned questioning of our clients," the team's spokesman, Yan Juanda Saputra, told The Jakarta Post.

Yan admitted that the official summons for the questioning had yet to be received but said the questioning was scheduled to start next week.

The government-sanctioned Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations (KPP HAM) in East Timor has recommended the Attorney General's Office launch an investigation into 33 military and civilian officials, including former TNI chief Gen. Wiranto, for their alleged involvement in the violence that erupted after the Aug. 30 self-determination ballot.

Wiranto, who has been suspended by President Abdurrahman Wahid from his Cabinet post as coordinating minister for political affairs and security pending the investigation, has denied any wrongdoing.

The Attorney General's Office said last week, without giving any time frame, that it would form a team of investigators to probe the violence and that the team would then name suspects to be questioned.

Meanwhile, the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) called on Monday for the immediate establishment of an ad hoc tribunal on the East Timor violence to provide legal infrastructure for the investigation.

"It is still not clear what kind of tribunal there is going to be to try the suspects in the East Timor violence, so the government and the House of Representatives must immediately decide on the matter," YLBHI's deputy director Dadang Trisasongko said in a statement.

Rights activists have said that the alleged human rights violations in East Timor last year should not be considered ordinary crimes.

Therefore, the trial of those who were allegedly involved in the violence should not be held in an ordinary criminal court, the activists said.

The bill on the human rights tribunal, which was scheduled to be submitted to the House later this week, stipulates that the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal should be based on a presidential decree with the approval of the House. (byg)