Tuesday, September 28, 1999 Published at 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Timor militias face atrocities probe
The motion could lead the way to a full scale war crimes tribunal
Alleged atrocities by pro-Indonesian militias in East Timor are set to be investigated by an international commission, after the United Nations' main human rights body voted in favour of an inquiry.
Indonesia has said it will not co-operate with the international investigation. It says its own inquiry led by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas) is sufficient.
The head of Komnas and co-chairman of the ruling Golkar party, Marzuki Darusman, told the BBC that the vote was "a setback for the Indonesian Government". But he said "we will just have to accept it."
However, he added that the move could deepen nationalist sentiment amongst the Indonesian public "against the perceived intrusion of outside interests."
The commission also resolved that those responsible for human rights violations in East Timor should be brought to justice and called for all refugees to be allowed to return home.
The vote came as reports emerged from East Timor of further atrocities, including the deaths of five Roman Catholic clergy and nine civilians allegedly killed by departing Indonesian soldiers.
China and the Philippines were among those to voting against the resolution. Three other countries were absent from the vote.
Indonesia's ambassador, Hassan Wirajuda, had appealed for Asian allies to vote against what he called "the high-handed self-righteous approach" taken by the EU.
He said the resolution was "constructive and co-operative in its spirit".
On Friday, EU officials softened the text of the original proposal, adding praise for the Indonesian Government and stressing the need to work alongside Indonesia's own National Commission on Human Rights.
Speaking to the BBC Mr Huhtaniemi said the EU would have liked to achieve a consensus on the inquiry but ultimately it became obvious that could not be achieved and the motion would have to be put to a vote.
"We know that there are many qualified human rights experts in Asia" he said.
However Mr Huhtaniemi said any decision to proceed towards a tribunal would be up to the UN Security Council based on material uncovered by the inquiry.