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'Sentence for War Criminal a bad joke:

'Sentence for War Criminal a bad joke: East Timor General gets 3 years.

The Jakarta ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor has just delivered its final verdict. Major General Adam Damiri, the most senior military officer before the court and in command at the time of East Timor's 1999 devastation has been sentenced to three years jail. Like the handful of others who were given light sentences he remains at liberty while he pursues an appeal.

This verdict has been long delayed - the hearings were suspended to allow Major General Damiri time to take part in the May launch of a renewed military campaign in Aceh.

"This is outrageous - Damiri is not being held accountable for the 1999 orgy of violence in East Timor, " said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.

"His sentence is at best a token, undoubtedly designed to appease the international community. Meanwhile he just carries on his nefarious ways as the most senior officer responsible for pursuing the deadly and hidden war against the people of Aceh."

" Indonesia cannot be allowed to hide behind the 'war on terrorism' or the latest tragic bombing in Jakarta to get away with impunity for war crimes."

" New Zealand has a deep obligation to demand that there be justice for East Timor. We were one of the nations that supported the Indonesian occupation for 24 tragic years. Moreover New Zealand officials observed the Jakarta trials and recorded much of nonsense that went on there as witnesses were humiliated before intimidatory phalanxes of military top brass. "

"The charges against all the 18 defendants were framed in terms of 'failing to prevent' violence rather than responsibility for a systematic campaign of violence. By contrast the East Timor Serious Crimes Tribunal has indicted Damiri for documented crimes including his open support for the militia leaders like Eurico Guterres whom he praised for their 'patriotism'.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff must now take the lead now to insist that there be a full international tribunal for East Timor as has happened for Yugoslavia and Rwanda."

"The western world seems hell bent on ignoring the worst terrorist threat faced by the Indonesian people - the terror perpetrated against them by their own military. But every day innocent civilians -even children - face death in Aceh - shot for being in the wrong place, or dying from disease in Vietnam style 'resettlement camps.' "

"New Zealand must do its bit to mobilise the international community - otherwise the Indonesian military will become even more entrenched as a powerful law unto itself."


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