Thursday, January 15, 2004

UN: in the way?

Is the UN standing in the way of General Wiranto's arrest? Wiranto is wanted for crimes against humanity that took place during Indonesia's withdrawal from East Timor.

East Timor's chief prosecutor has accused the United Nations of blocking an arrest warrant for war crimes against Wiranto, the Indonesian general who is a front-runner for presidential elections in July.

"There are no legal obstacles, only political obstacles, both in Indonesia and East Timor," Longuinhos Monteiro said.

But Mr Monteiro said he was closer to obtaining the warrant, and an Interpol warrant, for the former military chief, which would lead to his arrest if he travels abroad.

Wiranto is one of eight senior officers charged with directing crimes against humanity during Indonesia's bloody exit from East Timor in 1999.

International judges working for the United Nations in Dili refused to issue the warrants when requested last February, but the prosecutor appealed, and recently secured one for a Wiranto henchman, Colonel Yayat Sudrajat.

Mr Monteiro said the same UN-funded judges are now delaying the other seven cases. They say they can issue only one warrant at a time, he said, and are insisting each Interpol warrant must be issued before they approve the next one.

One always has to be wary of charges of "crimes against humanity" because they are very often politically motivated. However, why is the UN delaying the warrants? Their reason given in the below article seems trite. What makes the situation even more complicated is that Wiranto is anticipated to become the next President of Indonesia.


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