‘Wiranto is off limits’

THE Indonesian government will prosecute military personnel involved in atrocities in the restive Aceh province, said Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman.

He said that President Abdurrahman Wahid had authorised his office to set up a human rights tribunal to pursue “selective cases of violence committed by the military”.

“If there is enough evidence, we have the mandate to bring those responsible to court,” he told The Straits Times in an interview.

“The President has indicated that we can prosecute an army officer whose rank can go as high as major-general.”

He said former military chief General Wiranto, who is now Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, would not bear any responsibility for the violence in Aceh.

“He will be off limits,” the Attorney-General said.

“Actually there is no logic in trying him. Gen Wiranto took over command of the military and whatever baggage it brought with it, including Aceh. He can’t be faulted.

“As far as we know, there was also no policy of committing violent acts.

“Most of the violence was ad hoc and localised with little knowledge on the military headquarters’ side,” he said.

Indonesian security forces have been accused of widespread human rights abuses in the province.

The military said yesterday it would start withdrawing troops from Aceh, where it has promised to end its hardline tactics.

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