Mon, 04 Sep 2000

Wiranto, Zacky should be on the suspect list: Solidamor

JAKARTA (JP): The joint team set up by the Attorney General's Office to investigate rights violations in East Timor has ignored the real offenders, a watchdog said on Saturday.

Solidarity for Peace in East Timor (Solidamor) slammed the announcement of the 19 suspects on Friday, saying the then Indonesian Military chief Gen. (ret) Wiranto, former intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Zacky Anwar Makarim and Jakarta-backed militia leader Eurico Guterres should also be named suspects.

Former Udayana Military chief Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri, former East Timor Military chief Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, former East Timor Police chief Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen and former governor Jose Abilio Osorio Soares are among the 19 suspects.

The watchdog's campaign manager Tri Agus S. Siswowiharjo said that the team had only targeted 19 people who were in charge on the ground during last year's violence and left the generals in Jakarta, who were the real decisionmakers, untouched.

"They (the generals) were aware of the serious human rights violations, but they failed to stop them despite their authority."

Agus also warned that if the joint team failed to take the real actors to court, the generals could continue their illicit operations, by, for example, aiding civilian militia on the East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor border.

"This which will tarnish Indonesia's image," he warned.

"If the Attorney General's Office hasn't the ability to send for the rights violators -- for the sake of nationalism -- an international tribunal must be set up to try Wiranto and his subordinates for crimes against humanity," he said.

In a related development, former minister of human rights Hasballah M. Saad said in Jakarta on Saturday that taking Wiranto to court was a legal matter, not an emotional one.

"Legal fact is different from emotional demand. But whether or not the investigating team has worked according to the law is another question," Hasballah said.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the 19 suspects should be responsible for the East Timor violence before and after the Aug. 30 ballot last year.

The probe followed the recommendations of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) inquiry team, which said that 33 people, both military and civilian, were implicated in the terror.


The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch welcomed on Saturday the naming of suspects but believed that the whole prosecution would be on "shaky" legal ground, judging from the fact that the team had failed to include military top brass on the list.

"The failure to list Wiranto and Zacky doesn't mean they're off the hook, it may just indicate that, for the moment, the attorney general doesn't have a case against them that would hold up in court," Joe Saunders, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post.

Separately in Bandung, West Java, former chief of Dili Police Precinct Lt. Col. Hulman Goeltom denied on Saturday any involvement in rights violations in the province.

Goeltom, now chief of East Bandung Police precinct, is one of the 19 suspects.

"I just carried out my duties based on the rules during the ballot and refugee evacuations. The security measures I took were in accordance with the procedures and the instructions issued by National Police Headquarters in Jakarta through the East Timor Police chief," he told the Post.

"I don't know in which case I have been implicated in. But I don't want to guess. I will respond to the summons and answer all questions," he said, adding that he had yet to receive an official summons from the Attorney General's Office.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) reminded that Indonesia could still face the prospect of an international tribunal if it treats perpetrators of crimes against humanity in East Timor as ordinary crimes.

In a statement on Sunday, PBHI pointed out that despite establishing an ad hoc tribunal for the case, the UN security Council can still set up an international tribunal.

"The 'double jeopardy' principle can be disavowed if the national tribunal tries perpetrators under ordinary criminal law," read the statement, signed by PBHI's Chairman Hendardi. (dja/25/bby)