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Indonesian Generals Denounce Probe

December 11, 1999

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Indonesia’s top generals have denounced state investigators who have accused them of being responsible for the murder and destruction that gripped East Timor two months ago, media reports said today.

Former military chief Gen. Wiranto said allegations that military leaders were responsible for the violence were ``groundless,″ The Jakarta Post reported.

``We expected the government-sponsored commission to work honestly and accurately, but ... the commission has revealed to the public it is excessive and has gone beyond the judicial process,″ said Wiranto, who is now the minister for political affairs and security.

Wiranto and other generals were expected to be summoned to testify before the East Timor Human Rights Commission within 10 days.

The military has been accused of having organized and armed several militias that went on a burning, looting and murdering rampage in East Timor following an overwhelming vote for independence.

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. The violence continued until international peacekeepers arrived on Sept. 20.

Investigators said military leaders may be held accountable for the violence as evidence showed they knew it was taking place and did nothing to prevent it.

``I believe Wiranto could be charged with omission or failure to take action,″ said Albert Nasibuan, head of the investigating team.

Last month, the group dug up the bodies of 26 people _ including three Roman Catholic priests _ who were massacred during September’s violence. They had been buried in mass graves after being trucked in from East Timor to Indonesian-controlled West Timor.

In all about 200 bodies have so far been recovered.

Earlier this week, U.N. human rights investigators visited Jakarta, after spending nine days in East Timor gathering evidence of atrocities.

The team will present its report to U.N. Secretary-general Kofi Annan before the end of the year. The U.N. Security Council will then decide whether to establish a war crimes tribunal, similar to those established for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

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