General Wiranto, Indonesia's current minister of security, former
armed-forces chief, and once the handpicked successor of Indonesia's
fallen dictator Suharto, was supposed to be dangerous when pushed. A
guy who could pose a threat to Indonesia's fledgling democracy.
Yet in response to the National Commission on Human Rights
finding that he is culpable for "crimes against humanity" in East
Timor, his expected defiance was muted. He only promised to "fight
for the truth.'' Told of President Abdurrahman Wahid's stated
intention to fire him, all he had to say was that he hadn't heard
Hardly the words to strike fear into the hearts of men. For good
reason. Wiranto, the subject of coup rumors for months, was
outflanked by Mr. Wahid, a genial Muslim cleric who is one of
Indonesia's canniest political operators. Wiranto's political
career, analysts say, appears to be at an end.
Those afraid of a coup should take a cue from Wahid himself,
who's on a two week trip abroad, analysts say. Wahid felt confident
enough to let Wiranto know of his plans through a television
interviewer in Davos, Switzerland. "I will ask him, to use a polite
word, to resign,'' he told Reuters Television.
The findings of the four-month government inquiry into the East
Timor rampage were stunning. They held Wiranto, five other generals,
and 27 militia leaders, political figures, and junior officers
responsible for aiding a campaign of rape, murder, and torture in
the wake of the territory's August vote for independence. "Wahid has
been setting this one up for months," says a political analyst in
Jakarta. "It's quite clear the intention all along was to use the
human rights inquiry as a wedge to solve his problem with the
military.'' After the announcement, chief military spokesman Air
Force Rear Marshall Garito Usodo promised the military would respect
the legal process.
The commission presented its findings to Attorney General Marzuki
Darusman, a close ally of Wahid's. Mr. Darusman promised to pursue
further investigation that could lead to a prosecution but hasn't
set a timetable.
Of course, acceptance hasn't been total. On Feb. 1, lawyers for
the five accused generals attacked the accuracy of the report and
threatened a libel suit against the commission's members. The
lawyers, led by former human rights crusader Adnan Nasution, said in
a statement that the allegations against the military were not
supported by the evidence presented.
The plan, according to members of the investigating team, was to
couple international pressure with hard evidence of military guilt
to draw potential public support away from the generals. The
announcement of the domestic inquiry's results came just days after
United Nations investigators recommended a tribunal be set up to try
those accused of war crimes in East Timor, the former Portuguese
colony that gained independence after 25 years of Indonesian rule. …