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FEBRUARY 14, 2000 VOL. 155 NO. 6

W E B - O N L Y   I N T E R V I E W
'Wiranto Needs to Accept Some Responsibility'
Interview with Albert Hasibuan, head of Jakarta's inquiry into human-rights abuses in East Timor

From his office in central Jakarta, Albert Hasibuan, the chairman of the Commission Investigating Human Rights Violations in East Timor, spoke with TIME reporter Jason Tedjasukmana on Feb. 2 about the commission's three-month investigation into alleged atrocities committed in East Timor. The report, released Jan. 31, holds at least 30 military officers, district chiefs and militia leaders responsible for "gross violations of human rights." Excerpts from the interview:

Cover: Getting Interesting
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In a bid to prove that he's in charge, President Wahid demands that former army chief Wiranto leave his cabinet post

India: Hardened Hearts
Delhi's feeble response to the Orissa cyclone disaster highlights a national apathy that worries many citizens

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'Gandhi Was a Hypocrite'
In this online exclusive interview, Gopal Godse, co-conspirator in Gandhi's assassination and brother of the assassin, looks back in anger--and without regret

'Wiranto Needs to Accept Some Responsibility'
Online-only interview with Albert Hasibuan, head of Jakarta's inquiry into human-rights abuses in East Timor

Agus Wirahadikusuma: 'I Don't See a Coup Scenario'
Online Exclusive: A leading reformer in Indonesia's military talks about President Wahid's relationship with the army and coup rumors

Indonesia: Calm Before the Storm
Religious differences have turned the Moluccas into a battlefield, filled with hate and the prospect of more violence

Indonesia: Chaos in the Islands
As clashes between Muslims and Christians escalate in the far-flung Moluccas, many wonder if anyone's in charge in Jakarta

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Washington on Wahid
America's top man on East Asia applauds Indonesia's president

TIME: The military's legal defense team says the inquiry does not have the evidence or facts to support your conclusions.
Hasibuan: We have plenty of proof. The proof is primarily in the form of testimonies and documents and clearly show links between the military and the militias in the provision of arms, payments, logistics and leadership. Our proof is to be used as a starting point for the Attorney General's Office.

TIME: The commission is also being accused of violating the rights of those implicated in the report by prematurely publishing their names. Are you prepared for the legal consequences?
Hasibuan: Of course we are prepared. We have not broken any laws and the naming of names is clearly legal and in accordance with Indonesia's civil and criminal codes. We had to be accountable to the public and they have a right to know who and what was responsible. People are tired of hearing about "provocateurs" and "third parties." That said, we have not accused those named of anything and we assume they are innocent until proven guilty.

TIME: Why did the report ultimately hold General Wiranto responsible for what happened after East Timor's referendum?
Hasibuan: We stopped at Wiranto because he was in charge of security in East Timor at the time. Wiranto needs to accept some responsibility because he did not take effective steps to stop the violence. He claimed that "psychological constraints" prevented him from taking action, but I don't think that is a term that exists in the military's dictionary.

TIME: Why not go all the way to the top?
Hasibuan: (Former President) Habibie had been named by a number of those who were disappointed with his decision to offer the referendum option, but we did not have proof that his decision resulted in acts of destruction or that he violated any human rights. If his name comes up in court, however, he could be implicated.

TIME: There is some controversy as to where the commission's allegations will be heard. Where will trials take place?
Hasibuan: A Human Rights Court is still being discussed. If that idea is not accepted for technical reasons--such as whether the court will have the "retroactive" right to hear violations that occurred in the past--we could form a Cambodia-style court where you have a national court with international judges.

TIME: How critical is it that the report be followed up seriously?
Hasibuan: It is very important that we see some follow-up action. If we take the wrong step, no one will believe in us. If we fail this time, faith in our ability to uphold the law will be lost at home and overseas. These people must be prosecuted. If not, the whole thing will look like a game.

TIME: Did President Abdurrahman Wahid assist the commission in any way?
Hasibuan: The President allowed us to question ministers and certain military officers. He supported us but was not involved in the investigation.

TIME: Is this report an attack on the military?
Hasibuan: Not at all. The figure of Wiranto is seen as representing TNI [the Indonesian Military] but we are not going after TNI. He is not TNI, only part of it.

TIME: Should the report's conclusions be viewed as a beginning to reducing the power of the military in Indonesia?
Hasibuan: The military's tremendous power is being returned to where it belongs--as a professional body that secures the country against external threats and not as a political player. If their role is not changed civil society will never take root and the military's dual function [in politics and security] will never be curtailed.

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