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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 09:40 GMT
Indonesia rejects Timor extraditions
Militiamen in East Timor
Pro-Jakarta militias killed more than 1,000 people
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By Richard Galpin
BBC Jakarta correspondent
The Indonesian Government has categorically ruled out extraditing a group of soldiers and East Timorese militiamen, indicted by international prosecutors in East Timor for crimes against humanity.

The group includes Eurico Guterres, a notorious militia leader, suspected of involvement in some of the worst massacres of independence supporters.

At least 1,000 people were killed in violence surrounding East Timor's vote to break away from Indonesian rule in 1999.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wahidi Supriyadi, told the BBC the government had no intention of extraditing the group of 17 men, who are all believed to be living in Indonesia.

He said there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.

Although Jakarta did sign an agreement to co-operate with investigations into the violence surrounding the independence vote, Mr Supriyadi said this did not include handing over suspects.

He added the Indonesian Government had already set up its own human rights tribunals to prosecute those responsible for the violence, although so far no cases have been heard.

Little surprise

All this will come as little surprise to international prosecutors in East Timor, who issued the indictments on Monday.

Last October a warrant for the arrest of the pro-Jakarta militia leader, Eurico Guterres, was similarly ignored by the Indonesian authorities.

A United Nations spokesman in East Timor told the BBC a memorandum of understanding, signed with Indonesia two years ago, does cover the transfer of suspects and the execution of arrests. But, in a conciliatory statement, he said the UN would be pleased if the tribunals in Jakarta do now go ahead.

He said prosecutors in East Timor would share all the evidence they had already gathered.

But it is still far from certain that the government in Jakarta will press ahead with the tribunals, and if they do, whether any senior military or militia figures will ever be prosecuted.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
UN targets East Timor militia leader
15 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Japan commits troops to East Timor
09 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor chooses political system
21 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor launches truth commission
31 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
E Timor rights court installed
11 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
E Timor militiamen convicted
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: East Timor's 25 turbulent years
24 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: East Timor
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