10 May 2004

Timor arrest warrant for Wiranto

A United Nations-backed tribunal in East Timor has issued an arrest warrant against Indonesia's former military chief and current presidential candidate General Wiranto.

The warrant cites human rights abuses during the territory's bloody separation from Jakarta in 1999.

'The issuance of the Wiranto warrant is an important step in our continuing efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the violence against the civilian population of East Timor in 1999,' said UN prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian in a statement.

Wiranto, resigned from the military in 2000, was Indonesia's armed forces chief when army-backed militia waged a bloody campaign against independence supporters in the then Jakarta-controlled territory of East Timor.

The actual warrant may not figure in Wiranto's quest for the Indonesian presidency, but it would make it almost impossible for him to function as president. I notice it is at least getting a mention in the Indonesian media.

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