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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
General denies E Timor violations
Gen Wiranto
Gen Wiranto has hopes for the Indonesian presidency
The former Indonesian military chief has told an investigation there were no gross violations of human rights ahead of East Timor's independence vote.

Gen Wiranto was appearing before the Truth and Friendship Commission in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

He denied any links to militia involved in violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced in 1999.

The commission was set up two years ago to heal and to establish the truth.

It does not have the power to prosecute but can recommend amnesties for those who appear before it.

East Timor voted for independence from the country that had occupied it for 24 years.

'Ordinary crimes'

The BBC's Lucy Williamson, in Jakarta, says Gen Wiranto is the most senior military official to appear before the commission and the room was packed with those who had come to hear his testimony.

EAST TIMOR
Map of East Timor
1975: Indonesia invades after colonial power Portugal withdraws
Indonesia's often brutal rule opposed by Fretilin fighters
1999: More than 1,000 people killed over independence referendum
2002: East Timor becomes independent nation
He told the panel of judges that what happened in East Timor was not a gross human rights violation but rather a collection of ordinary crimes.

He denied any responsibility for any crimes committed by those under his command, saying that each individual soldier should be held accountable for his or her actions.

"The ad hoc human rights court has spent time and energy and it was clearly proven that there were no gross violations of human rights," he said.

Gen Wiranto, who wants to be Indonesia's next president, said the violence remained after independence.

"The pattern was similar to 1999 and that prompted them to invite the UN police."

The general also criticised the UN for giving Indonesia responsibility for security for the independence referendum.

"We were placed in a very difficult position," he said.

Gen Wiranto said of the militias that sparked much of the violence: "They were not formed, nor funded, nor equipped by the military and there was no structural control of these groups."

The 10-member commission has sat in a number of cities listening to testimony.

But our correspondent says it has been criticised by some human rights groups for being a poor replacement for a judicial process.


SEE ALSO
E Timor truth commission begins
19 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
E Timor truth commission formed
01 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Jakarta, Timor to discuss 'abuse'
13 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia and E Timor heal wounds
09 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
East Timor's unfinished business
05 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: East Timor
17 Oct 06 |  Country profiles



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