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The BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Jakarta
"General Wiranto seems to be particularly singled out"
 real 28k

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid
"The military will listen to us"
 real 28k

Monday, 31 January, 2000, 13:53 GMT
Wiranto faces sack over Timor

General Wiranto Military lawyers say there is no evidence against General Wiranto

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has said he intends to sack the former head of the armed forces, General Wiranto.

"We have to uphold human rights in Indonesia, whatever the course," he said.

The announcement came after a government-appointed human rights commission ruled that the general and five other senior officers should face prosecution over the violence in East Timor last year.

I will ask him, to use a polite word, ask him to resign.
President Abdurrahman Wahid
The head of the commission, Albert Hasibuan, told a news conference in Jakarta that the six were among 40 names it was submitting to Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

Its report says there are strong indications that the human rights abuses in East Timor were systematic, well-planned and on a large scale and included killing, torture and rape.

It says General Wiranto and all the army and police officers in charge in East Timor at that time were fully aware of the human rights abuses.

Sacking threat

President Wahid responded swiftly to news of the report, saying he would dismiss General Wiranto when he returned from the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in the Swiss Alps.

refugees East Timorese suffered large-scale killing, torture and rape.
Asked if this meant he would sack the general, he said: "Oh yes, of course. I will ask him, to use a polite word, ask him to resign."

President Wahid dismissed concerns about how the Indonesian military might react to the sacking, saying: "They will listen to us."

General Wiranto is currently Indonesia's senior Minister for Security and Political Affairs.

Armed forces lawyers, anticipating that the commission's report would implicate the former army chief, have already rejected its findings.

Major General Timor Manurung, who heads the military's legal department, said: "There is no evidence that Wiranto violated human rights in East Timor,"

He must be brought to trial
Jose Ramos-Horta, a top Timorese activist
General Wiranto was in command of the army when pro-Jakarta militia gangs rampaged through East Timor in September last year after the people there voted overwhelmingly to break away from Indonesia.

Military denial

The military have denied any part in the violence, in which at least 250 people died before international peacekeepers restored order.

horta Jose Ramos-Horta wants justice
Critics are demanding that General Wiranto should be prosecuted as well as dismissed from the Cabinet. " In this day and age you cannot kill hundreds of people, destroy a whole country and then just get fired," said Jose Ramos-Horta, a top Timorese independence activist who won the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.

"He must be brought to trial."

After lobbying by Indonesia earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Jakarta should be given the opportunity to prosecute those responsible before he decides whether it is necessary to set up an international war crimes tribunal.

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See also:
 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: General Wiranto
28 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Wiranto 'responsible' for Timor violence
24 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
General denies Timor atrocities
18 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesian general to help Timor probe
29 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia 'responsible' for Timor destruction
27 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Timor enclave reduced to wasteland

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