A United Nations prosecutor in East Timor indicted 11 men Monday
for crimes against humanity in what promises to be a first step on
a long and contentious road to justice.
Among the accused is Lt. Sayful Anwar, a deputy commander of
Indonesia's feared Special Forces Command (Kopassus) - the first
Indonesian soldier ever to face international prosecution for war
The UN said it would seek Lieutenant Anwar's extradition from
Indonesia to face trial in East Timor. The UN Transitional
Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) is administering the newly
independent territory until elections, which are tentatively
scheduled for next year.
The 10 others were members of Team Alpha, a Kopassus-trained
militia group based in the northern town of Los Palos. Nine of them
are already in custody.
Mohamed Chande Othman, the UN's chief prosecutor in East Timor,
said the indictments would send a message to Indonesia's military
that there would be no impunity for the rampage that followed East
Timor's independence vote in August 1999. More than 100 people were
killed and 250,000 driven from their homes in a week of violence
orchestrated by pro-Indonesian militias that were trained and
organized by the Indonesian Army.
But the feeling in Jakarta was that Mr. Othman, a Tanzanian who
was formerly chief prosecutor at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda, was putting the best face on an increasingly
grim situation. The Indonesian military has said time and again it
will not cooperate with Othman's efforts.
And human rights experts say it's now unlikely that the
Indonesian government will be either willing or able to force the
military to cooperate.
"The pressure has decreased so much compared to early this year,"
says Asmara Nababan, the secretary-general of Indonesia's National
Commission on Human Rights. "There's been this increasing
ultranationalist flavor in our parliament, which has created
sympathy for officers and for those who actually committed the
Mr. Nababan also says that "the willingness to pressure Indonesia
is no longer there."
The military has effectively stonewalled the efforts of UN
prosecutors to question five military and police officers in
Jakarta this week, despite the full cooperation of Indonesian
Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.
"No … officer is to be investigated or questioned by
UNTAET," Armed Forces Chief Admiral Widodo Adisucipto told
journalists yesterday after meeting with President Abdurrahman