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BBC's Indonesia correspondent Richard Galpin
"Delay of many months"
 real 28k

Monday, 1 May, 2000, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Generals grilled over Timor violence
Clashes
The independence vote in East Timor ended up in violence
Indonesian prosecutors have for the first time questioned military officers about their alleged role in last year's violence in East Timor.

The commanders, including top generals and the former East Timor police chief, were questioned for most of the day as part of an inquiry which could lead to prosecutions for human rights violations.

Hundreds of people were killed and many of the towns destroyed in the outbreak of violence which surrounded East Timor's vote for independence from Indonesia last August.

East Timor
It is not certain if the former military chief General Wiranto, who is currently suspended as security minister, will be interviewed.

"We have yet to make a decision on Wiranto," the chief investigator, Mohammed Rachman, said.


Wiranto
It is still not clear if General Wiranto will be questioned
General Wiranto was clearly mentioned in a report handed to Indonesia's Attorney-General's Office by the country's Human Rights Commission in January.

The report named more than 30 senior military officers, government officials and militia leaders it said should be investigated for their alleged involvement in systematic and widespread human rights abuses, including killing, torture and rape.

Attorney-general Marzuki Darusman said in January that it would only be a matter of weeks before senior military commanders were named as suspects, and the first trials should begin within a few months.



There will be a total of 21 men who will be questioned, but we have yet to decide on whether (they are questioned) as suspects or as witnesses

Chief investigator Mohammed Rachman
But instead, the Attorney General's team of investigators has only just been sworn in.

BBC Jakarta correspondent Richard Galpin says the prosecutors seem to be starting their own inquiry from scratch - and that it could be a long time before anyone is held accountable for the atrocities committed in East Timor last year.

Former East Timor police chief Brigadier General, Timbul Silaen, and former Bali-based military commander, Major General Adam Damiri, were questioned for more than eight hours on Monday by a commission headed by the Deputy Attorney General.

Two of Dili's former military commanders, Brigadier General Tono Suratman and Colonel Nur Muis, were also questioned.


UN soldier
The UN force still struggles to maintain order in East Timor
Speaking after the first round of questioning, chief investigator Mohammed Rachman said they would be summoning a total of 21 men.

"We have yet to decide on whether (they are questioned) as suspects or as witnesses,"

He said a decision on the status of each would be made after the team of investigators return from West Timor.

Mr Rahman said their inquiry would take three to six months.

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See also:

18 Jun 99 | Asia-Pacific
UN witnesses Timor violence
01 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Timor descends into anarchy
03 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia under pressure over militias
30 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian pledge on human rights
13 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
The evidence against Wiranto
08 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto denies Timor role
01 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto - survivor with iron will
01 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
I worked for peace - Wiranto
18 Sep 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Dili: a smouldering shadow
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