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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 09:31 GMT
Indonesia charges seven over E Timor
Unrest in East Timor
East Timor was ravaged by violence in August 1999
The attorney general's office in Indonesia has charged seven people with crimes agianst humanity in East Timor, during the violent run-up to the province's independence referendum in 1999.

Three senior officials and four lesser-ranking police and military personnel have been indicted.

No trial date has yet been set, but if found guilty they could face the death penalty.

Eurico Guterres, pictured in January 2001
Eurico Guterres is on a separate UN wanted list
At least 1,000 people were killed in violence surrounding East Timor's vote to break away from Indonesian rule.

The three senior officials are East Timor Governor Abilio Soares, police chief Brigadier General Timbul Silaen, and Colonel Herman Sedyono, a former district head.

They are charged with failing to do enough to stop five separate attacks on independence supporters.

The incidents including two massacres inside churches, when locals and priests were shot or hacked to death by pro-Jakarta militiamen.

The seven charged on Thursday are on a list of 18 originally indicted last year.

But the most senior suspect, Major General Adam Damiri, has not yet been charged.

International pressure

These are the first such cases submitted by the prosecutors to the Indonesian human rights tribunal, which was set up last month.

The BBC correspondent in Jakarta says Indonesia is under considerable international pressure to press ahead with these cases.

Unless justice is seen to be done, he says, an international human rights tribunal could still be set up.

Separately, United Nations prosecutors in East Timor have indicted 99 suspects.

But the Indonesian Government has categorically ruled out extraditing this group of soldiers and East Timorese militiamen.

Among the people listed by the UN is Eurico Guterres, a notorious militia leader, suspected of involvement in some of the worst massacres of independence supporters.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
UN targets East Timor militia leader
19 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia rejects Timor extraditions
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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