General Wiranto

02.05.2016 ( Last modified: 08.06.2016 )
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facts

General Wiranto was born on 4 April 1947 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. At the time of the events, he was Commander in Chief of the Indonesian Army and Minister of Defence. He was relieved of these functions in February 2000 by President Abdurrahman Wahid and is now in retirement.

The accusations of criminal responsibility against him go back to the events which took place in East Timor in 1999. Around 1400 people were killed in the months leading up to a referendum on independence for the region, organised by the United Nations on 30 August 1999, and during the days following this vote. In addition, more than 250’000 people were transferred by force or fled to West Timor or Indonesia. A large number of people were also victims of other violations of human rights, notably of torture and rape. These crimes were carried out by the militia with the support and coordination of members of the armed forces, the police and the Indonesian Civilian Authorities in order to influence the outcome of the referendum and to put off adoption of the results of the referendum.
On 25 February 2003, General Wiranto, together with seven other high placed military and civilian personalities, were indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit, a body set up by the United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor(UNTAET) *****
On 25 February 2003, General Wiranto, together with seven other high placed military and civilian personalities, were indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit, a body set up by the United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor(UNTAET) by adopting Resolution 1272(1999) of the Security Council, and placed under the authority of the Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes. This group was commissioned with giving assistance to the Timorese authorities in prosecuting the most serious crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, which were committed between 1st January and 25 October 1999.

Based on the act of indictment, the accused, which included General Wiranto, were charged with murder, deportation and persecution as crimes against humanity. According to the same document, the Indonesian Authorities wielded effective control over the militia which committed these crimes. They were therefore implicated through their superior responsibility.

On 10 May 2004, the Serious Crimes Unit issued an arrest warrant against General Wiranto. However the Indonesian Authorities refused to cooperate with the Timorese Courts. General Wiranto was even a candidate in the Indonesian Presidential elections in July 2004.

legal procedure

On 25 February 2003, General Wiranto, together with seven other high placed military and civilian personalities, were indicted by the Serious Crimes Unit, a body set up by the United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor(UNTAET) by adopting Resolution 1272(1999) of the Security Council, and placed under the authority of the Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes. This group was commissioned with giving assistance to the Timorese authorities in prosecuting the most serious crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, which were committed between 1st January and 25 October 1999.

Based on the act of indictment, the accused, which included General Wiranto, were charged with murder, deportation and persecution as crimes against humanity. According to the same document, the Indonesian Authorities wielded effective control over the militia which committed these crimes. They were therefore implicated through their superior responsibility.

On 10 May 2004, the Serious Crimes Unit issued an arrest warrant against General Wiranto. However the Indonesian Authorities refused to cooperate with the Timorese Courts. General Wiranto was even a candidate in the Indonesian Presidential elections in July 2004.

context

On the 25 October 1999, the Security Council of the United Nations adopted Resolution 1272, whereby it was decided to create a United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET). By regulation 2000/11 of 6 March 2000, UNTAET created a judicial system aimed specifically at prosecuting the following crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, sexual offences and torture.

Jurisdiction to prosecute these particularly serious crimes was conferred on the Dili District Court, sitting in a special configuration, consisting of both Timorese and international judges. Judgements handed down by this Court could be brought before an Appeals Court also located in Dili and likewise composed of both Timorese and international judges. The authorities for the prosecution of the Dili District Court had, until December 2004, issued 90 bills of indictment with charges laid against 377 people. Since the Court commenced hearings, numerous cases were settled by a Trial Chamber, resulting in 74 convictions (by early December 2004), particularly for murder or crimes against humanity. Sentences ranging from 11 months to 33 years and four months imprisonment were handed down. Several cases were brought before the Appeals Court, which rendered its verdict in some of these cases.

Parallel to the trials being heard in Dili, Indonesia also set up a procedure aimed at prosecuting the atrocities committed in East Timor. A National Commission of Enquiry, whose final report was published on 31 January 2000, leveled accusations directly against 33 individuals, including several military leaders. A Human Rights Tribunal, an ad hoc jurisdiction with the specific task of judging these individuals, was subsequently set up. Of the 33 persons designated by the Commission of Enquiry, only 18 were convicted. 12 were acquitted by the lower court, 4 on appeal and 1 on final appeal before the Supreme Court. The only person to be convicted is Eurico Guterres, whose prison term was fixed at 10 years by the Indonesian Supreme Court on March 13, 2006. In the final outcome, the quasi-totality of those accused of crimes committed in East Timor, were thus acquitted by the Indonesian Human Rights Tribunal. Doubts about the impartiality of this organism were however raised by many human rights organisations, in particular, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Coalition for International Justice.