Mon, 30 Oct 2000

Trial of Atambua incident suspects moved to capital

JAKARTA (JP): The trial of six suspects in last month's murder of three UN aid workers in Atambua, West Timor, will be moved to the capital due to security concerns in the border town, an officer said on Sunday.

"For security reasons, the police are going to request the Atambua Prosecutor's Office write to the Attorney General's Office to move the trial venue to Jakarta," East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika told visiting Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at El Tari Airport in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara.

"Police will hand over the dossiers, the evidence, and the six suspects to the Atambua Prosecutor's Office next week. We are still looking for three more suspects who are at large," Antara news agency quoted him as saying.

Susilo was accompanied by Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Widodo AS, Minister of Settlement and Territorial Development Erna Witoelar, Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Al Hilal Hamdi, Junior Minister of the Acceleration of Development in Eastern Indonesia Manuel Kaisiepo and several high-ranking TNI officers.

Mangku Pastika said that although the crime occurred in Atambua, the trial should be held in the capital.

"This may take time, but it is for the sake of security," he said.

Article 85 of the Criminal Code Procedures states that based on the recommendation of the concerned district court or prosecutor's office, should security conditions prevent a district court from hearing a case the Supreme Court can suggest the minister of justice appoint another district court to hear the case.

According to the police, the murder of the three UN workers on Sept. 6 was triggered by the killing of ex-militia leader Olivio Moruk. Seven suspects have so far been named in Olivio's murder.

The three UN workers were killed after a mob stormed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Atambua, just hours before the opening of the UN Millennium Summit in New York, which was attended by some 150 world leaders, including President Abdurrahman Wahid.

At the time, Abdurrahman said the attack, which prompted international condemnation of Indonesia, was a well-organized scheme to humiliate him at the international summit.

Earlier, Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said TNI personnel were implicated in the deaths of the former militia leader and the UN aid workers.

Marzuki said "elements of the military" were among 13 suspects arrested for their alleged involvement in the killings. However, he stopped short of releasing their names.

Mangku Pastika also said the trial of pro-Indonesia East Timorese militia leader Eurico Guterres would be held in Jakarta, Antara reported.

"The crime occurred in Atambua, but Eurico's case too will be tried in Jakarta. We're bringing all the evidence in Eurico's case to Jakarta next week," he said.

Police have charged Eurico with provoking several militiamen to storm the Belu Police station on Sept. 24 and seize rifles which they earlier had handed over to the police. (ylt)