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TIMOR TODAY 16/12/99

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East Timorese independence leader Jose Alexandre Xanana Gusmao is awarded the Sakharov Prize for freedom of expression by European Parliament president Nicole Fontaine, of France, Wednesday Dec 15,1999 at the European parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. Named after the late-Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, the $15,000 prize is awarded every year to recognize personalities who defend human rights and democracy, even at risk to their personal safety.(AP PHOTO/Christian Lutz)


1. HRW Report: 75,000-110,000 East Timorese Still Trapped In Indonesia 16/12/99 Human Rights Watch, New YorkùIn a new report released today, Human Rights Watch called for urgent efforts to separate militia members from civilian East Timorese in refugee camps in Indonesia. The refugees should also be allowed to choose freely whether to return from the camps in West Timor, the report said. An estimated 75,000 to 110,000 refugees are still in the camps, three months after most were forcibly expelled following a ballot on self-determination in East Timor.

2. Troop reinforcements flown to Timor border after kidnapping, murder 16/12/99 DILI, (AFP) - Reinforcements from the multinational peacekeeping force have been flown to the border region after a civilian was kidnapped and another man murdered, a spokesman said Wednesday. Between 50 and 100 infantrymen from CanadaÆs Royal 22nd Regiment were flown by Australian Army Blackhawk helicopters to the village of Boeana on Tuesday.

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3. East Timor donors to hold first full-scale meeting in Japan 16/12/99 TOKYO, (AFP) - International aid donors to East Timor hold their first full-scale meeting this week in Japan along with independence leader Xanana Gusmao. The two-day meeting will begin on Thursday, drawing more than 100 officials from 30 countries mainly from Asia, North America and Europe as well as representatives of 20 international institutes, officials said.

4. I donÆt feel guilty, says militia boss 16/12/99 Sydney Morning Herald Eurico Guterres looks a beaten man. Gone are his thug bodyguards and the copy-cat red beret uniform of IndonesiaÆs elite Kopassus forces. Gone also are his bravado and threats to kill. "I donÆt feel I am guilty of anything," he says. Three months after carrying out his threat to turn East Timor into a wasteland if Timorese voted to reject JakartaÆs rule, Guterres is beginning to feel abandoned by Indonesia and hints that he might one day name names in IndonesiaÆs armed forces.

5. Gus Dur to let the courts decide WirantoÆs fate 16/12/99 Straits Times [Singapore] A senior military officer conceded: "The President might have relied a lot on Gen Wiranto and the military in the first weeks of setting up his administration. We are no longer a factor because he does not bother to listen to what we have to say on Aceh or any other matter. He trusts his inner circle and religious scholars more. The militaryÆs ties with the President are on a downward spiral."

6. Indonesian Generals face trial for Timor atrocities 16/12/99 Sydney Morning Herald State investigators demanded yesterday that army generals be tried for human rights abuses in East Timor after President Abdurrahman Wahid said he would not block their prosecutions by the Indonesian courts. Government human rights investigators said military commanders should be held accountable for the orgy of murder and destruction three months ago since they knew it was taking place and did nothing to prevent it. "This is great news," said Mr Asmara Nababan of the Investigative Commission for Human Rights Abuses in East Timor. "We have enough evidence to go ahead with the prosecutions."

7. TNI lawyers wish to visit E. Timor to seek truth 16/12/99 JAKARTA (JP): Lawyers defending Indonesian Military (TNI) officers suspected of being responsible for violence in East Timor said they would like to visit the territory to prove their clientsÆ innocence. "If the independent commission can go to west and East Timor, why canÆt we do the same thing?"

8. General warns of military reaction to rights quizzing 16/12/99 JAKARTA, (AFP) - An Indonesian general has issued a warning over the possible consequences of legislatorsÆ plans to question senior officiers over the militaryÆs human rights abuses. Lieutenant General Jaja Suparman said plans by the parliament to summon several top generals over alleged past rights abuses may offend soldiers and lead them to act "wantonly." "If that happens, then pity the innocent people," Suparman said.


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