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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTIMEASIANOW
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Face the Music
Jakarta inquiry says Indonesia's military should be questioned over Aceh abuses
By YISHANE LEE

also:
ASEAN: Troubled waters
MACAU: Convicted
THAILAND: Confident Chuan?
and more stories Below the Fold

November 24, 1999
Web posted at 1:35 p.m. Hong Kong time, 12:35 a.m. EDT


    DAILY BRIEFING
An Official Elaboration
Aceh vote to determine whether to adopt Islamic Law, not independence
- Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1999

Liftoff
With successful launch, China says it's on track to manned-space flight
- Monday, Nov. 22, 1999

Having His Say
Indonesian President Wahid stands by his decision for an Aceh vote
- Friday, Nov. 19, 1999

Lockup
High-profile arrests under Pakistan's tough new anti-corruption law
- Thursday, Nov. 18, 1999

Just Wait Till June
Indonesia's president gives Aceh a referendum timetable
- Wednesday, Nov. 17, 1999

Search for more Daily Briefing stories

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Jakarta's inquiry into military-led violence in Aceh over the past decade determined that war crimes had been committed "on the order of the top leadership," the Jakarta Post's lead story reported. The news led the Asian sections of most regional papers. The Independent Inquiry into the Violence in Aceh recommended that the government question all military chiefs since 1989, including Gen. Wiranto, who is still serving in government. The South China Morning Post's wire summary said the commission also urged that ailing former president Suharto, whose long reign over Indonesia ended in May 1998, be questioned. The inquiry was set up by Suharto's successor, B.J. Habibie, and includes Acehnese and representatives from the military police and the attorney general's office, the Jakarta Post said. Trials on charges of killing, raping and torturing civilians could begin in two weeks. The Jakarta Post also noted that the inquiry had submitted its report to the government two weeks ago but, feeling stymied by the lack of response, decided to make the report public.

The International Herald-Tribune said Indonesia's military, meanwhile, "openly challenged" the government in calling for the imposition of martial law in Aceh. Military spokesman Maj.-Gen. Sudrajat said parts of Aceh were "truly in a state of chaos." The military's stance follows up comments Monday by civilian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono warning of an impending coup. (Also Monday, an independent inquiry recommended that the military be taken to task for East Timor atrocities. See Daily Briefing.) Wahid has said he is opposed to military rule. Separately, armed forces chief Adm. Widodo A.S. declared that the military "will take tough measures against separatism once it manifests into physical activities," another Jakarta Post article said. Warning the House of Representatives that the threat of Indonesia's disintegration is very real -- with Aceh and Irian Jaya the most vulnerable -- he implied that the pullback of security forces to appease Aceh has led to more violence as armed separatists gain ground. The Hong Kong Standard bluntly summarized the inquiry's findings in its headline for a Reuters report: "New strategy to pacify Acehnese."

Troubled waters
A five-day ASEAN leaders' summit in Manila kicks off today. The SCMP reported that while hammering out a code of conduct for the potentially oil-rich South China Sea leads the official agenda, restive Aceh will be foremost on leaders' minds. Still, the grouping is likely to stick to its policy of non-interference. "ASEAN's relevance does not hinge on a specific problem that at this point is still a matter internal to Indonesia," said the group's secretary-general Rodolfo Severino. Manila prepared the draft for South China Sea Regional Code of Conduct, the Philippine Star reported. The document "seeks to prevent claimants from 'taking any action that establishes presence' in unoccupied islands, rocks or reefs in disputed areas of the Spratly island group and Paracels," its story said. China and some ASEAN nations including Malaysia and Vietnam have built structures on the barren islands to press separate claims. The Associated Press reported that ASEAN members are still in dispute over the region covered by the code; China must accept the agreement if it is to be effective.

Convicted
Notorious Hong Kong gangster Wan Kuok-koi, a.k.a. "Broken Tooth," was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a Macau court on charges of leading a triad, money laundering, loansharking and tapping telephones -- news that fronted Hong Kong dailies. Wan screamed abuse after hearing his sentence. "You've taken dirty money.... This is the worst verdict of the century," he yelled, before being subdued and led away under heavy security, according to the SCMP's lead story. An Asian Wall Street Journal article said that the case was a "loose thread" ahead of Macau's midnight Dec. 19 handover back to China. The conviction also helps burnish the Portuguese administration's image in its waning days in Macau. The Portuguese enclave had suffered an image of unimpeded gangland violence in recent years. Also yesterday three other Hong Kong gang members were executed in Zhuhai, just across border in the mainland, the Hong Kong Standard's lead story reported.

Confident Chuan?
Thai PM Chuan Leekpai's government faces a parliamentary no-confidence vote today over corruption allegations related to Krung Thai Bank. The Nation reported that Chuan appeared on television in a last-minute PR move to sway opinion before the censure vote this morning. Appearing with him was Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda, who is accused of protecting his brother, Krung Thai's boss during a period of suspect lending practices. "I report to the people," said Tarrin, denying nepotism charges. "There's no way I will be swayed by personal relationships without thinking about right and wrong." The AWSJ reported that Chuan's administration is likely to survive the censure motion. Meanwhile, Thailand and Burma have reopened their shared land border after seven weeks' ban on crossings, said the Bangkok Post. Rangoon closed the border to register displeasure with the Thai government's perceived leniency in dealing with student activists who took over Bangkok's Burmese Embassy Oct. 1.

Below the Fold

Battling for votes
With just over a week to campaign for Malaysia's elections, it's not surprising to hear that political opponents are using extreme tactics. The SCMP's Ian Stewart reported that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has rolled out a "special weapon" against jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. It is Ummi Hafilda Ali, the star witness in Anwar's corruption trial who has also appeared in his sodomy trial. While stumping for PM Mahathir Mohamad, Ummi has been attracting bigger crowds than any individual on either side. She's even campaigning against her brother, an opposition candidate, choosing to sever family ties over "sacrific[ing] 20 million Malaysians." In a separate story, the SCMP reported that the opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) has been telling Muslim women that according to the Koran, they must vote with their husbands. PAS hopes it can earn two-for-one votes for the opposition Barisan Alternatif coalition this way.

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