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Indonesia Blamed for Probe Delay

November 25, 1999

DILI, East Timor (AP) _ A U.N. official investigating alleged human rights abuses in East Timor today accused Indonesia of trying to stall the world body’s efforts to set up an investigative mission.

Sonia Picado, chairperson of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry in East Timor, said Indonesia had delayed the meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Committee, which must approve the mandate of the commission.

The commission of inquiry will look into alleged human rights violations that took place before and after East Timor’s independence referendum on Aug. 30.

Hundreds of thousands of people were uprooted in September and much of the province was devastated in an orgy of violence by Indonesian troops and their militia proxies.

Pro-Jakarta factions were angered by the outcome of a U.N.-sponsored referendum on independence that the East Timorese overwhelmingly approved.

Indonesia has set up its own state-appointed human rights probe, which has implicated several of the country’s military commanders in the atrocities.

Jakarta has also refused to grant visas to U.N. investigators wanting to travel to West Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia, despite daily requests from the United Nations, Picado said.

If sufficient evidence is uncovered, the U.N. panel could recommend the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal to prosecute human rights violators.

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