Fri, 15 Dec 2000

House to review MoU signed with UNTAET

JAKARTA (JP): The House of Representatives and the government agreed on Thursday to review the memorandum of understanding (MOU) which has been disputed as a legal ground for a joint investigation by the Attorney General's Office and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) over last year's East Timor mayhem.

House speaker Akbar Tandjung told a joint media conference that legislators would study the MOU in a series of hearings later next month, following the holiday recess, and focus on several dictums which are considered qualified as a binding bilateral agreement.

"Should there be dictums in the memorandum which are not in accordance with Indonesian law, there will be a dialog for some modifications or adjustments," Akbar said after a two-hour dialog with Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

The dialog was also attended by the chairmen of the House Commission I on defense, foreign and political affairs Yasril Ananta Baharuddin, Commission II on home and legal affairs Amin Aryoso and the Inter-parliamentary Union Cooperation Body chairman Sabam Sirait.

The meeting took place after several representatives, including the legislators, top generals and lawyers representing military and police officers implicated in East Timor violence delivered their opinion that the agreement would lead to foreign intervention in the country's domestic affairs.

However, Marzuki dismissed speculation, saying that prosecution of alleged human rights perpetrators would only be under Indonesian law and that they would not be extradited.

He said that during the dialog, the House leaders raised questions on several points carried by the MOU, including mutual assistance to facilitate the transfer of persons and extradition.

Marzuki assured that there would be no rejection from UNTAET, should there be changes to the MOU, which he and UNTAET chairman Sergio Vieira de Mello signed last April.

"I believe UNTAET will respect our decision to make some changes to the memorandum which have been suggested by the legislature, and represents the interests of the Indonesian people," he told the media briefing.

Marzuki said that the MOU is still effective, but will only be valid after the hearings, which will discuss issues in the memorandum, are completed.

"We need some time to calm things down and to settle these matters through the hearings. The investigation will proceed in its own time," he said.

Meanwhile, Attorney General's Office spokesman Muljohardjo told journalists on Thursday that the dossiers on East Timor's pro-independence militia leader Eurico Guterres were filed with the North Jakarta District Court.

Eurico's lawyer Suhardi Somomoeljono told The Jakarta Post that the district court would announce the panel of judges and set the date for the initial hearing on Monday.

Eurico, who is currently being detained at a safe house within the Jakarta Police headquarters compound, will be charged with Article 160 of the Criminal Code for persuading others to go against the government and Article 214 of the same Code for a forceful and belligerent act.

Guterres allegedly ordered his supporters last September to retrieve weapons they had earlier handed over to the police. (bby)