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General Guilty in Timor Violence

August 06, 2003|From Reuters

JAKARTA, Indonesia — An Indonesian court Tuesday found a top army general guilty of crimes against humanity stemming from bloodshed during East Timor's independence vote in 1999. The verdict capped a series of court cases that rights groups have largely branded a whitewash.

The special human rights court sentenced Maj. Gen. Adam Damiri to three years in jail. He was regional commander at the time of the violence and the top general to be tried.

"The defendant is guilty.... He committed criminal acts which are a violation of human rights and crimes against humanity. He is sentenced to three years in jail," Chief Judge Marni Erni Mustafa told the court.

Damiri is the last of 18 people to be tried by the court, which has acquitted most other suspects and handed out lenient sentences to those convicted, drawing widespread criticism from international and local rights groups.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker said Washington was disappointed by the tribunal's overall work and by its sentence for Damiri, saying it was well below the 10-year minimum recommended by Indonesian law.

"We believe that the overall process of the tribunal has been flawed and lacked credibility," Reeker told reporters in Washington. "The light sentencing of this highest-ranking defendant and others

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