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17 Members of Indonesian Army Indicted in E. Timor - 2003-10-07

Prosecutors in East Timor have indicted 17 Indonesian and Timorese members of the Indonesian army for allegedly playing a role in deadly attacks on independence supporters and other civilians in 1999.

The indictments, filed at the District Court in the East Timorese capital, Dili, charge the 17 individuals with crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and persecution. They bring to 367 the number of Indonesian security officials and local militia members charged in the 1999 atrocities.

Indonesia is under no obligation to hand over the suspects. It conducted its own trials but those have been widely criticized by rights groups as a failure.

Militias armed and organized by the Indonesian military carried out a campaign of terror before and after the United Nations-sponsored independence ballot in East Timor. The violence left more than one thousand Timorese dead.

East Timor became independent in May 2002.