Wed, 24 May 2000

Wiranto resists blame on Timor chaos

JAKARTA (JP): Former Indonesian Military chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto balked at the continued criticism against him saying here on Tuesday that he was only part of the larger infrastructure and that there were more senior officials overseeing the process in East Timor last year.

Wiranto pointed out that his duties in East Timor were regulated by a presidential decree.

"I only followed orders issued by the government, to insure the security and the success of the United Nations (UN)- supervised ballot," he told journalists after being questioned for six hours by a special Attorney General's Office investigative team.

Wiranto was referring to Presidential Decree No. 43/1999.

The decree was issued soon after the May 1999 New York Agreement which obliged Jakarta to create a more secure climate and to safeguard the ballot.

"All policies came from the then coordinating minister for political affairs and security," Wiranto said referring to Gen. (ret.) Feisal Tanjung

Wiranto explained that in the military there is a system known as delegating authority and responsibility to subordinates.

"Such a delegation divides the responsibility among those who are in charge of the operation and those who carry out specific policies and actions," he said.

"(And) I wasn't responsible for the military operations in East Timor," Wiranto added.

He is among several military officers alleged to be responsible for the violence that erupted following the Aug. 30 ballot.

Tuesday was the second time Wiranto was summoned by the Attorney General's investigating team involving the matter.

Deputy Attorney General for General Crimes M.A. Rahman said Wiranto was asked 20 questions.

"I answered all questions honestly. I didn't hide the truth. But I resisted questions that were beyond my authority and exceeded my responsibility," Wiranto told journalists later on.

"Based on the substance of the questions posed to me, I could tell that the Attorney General's Office was sincere in trying to find out the truth," he added. (01)