Today's Story Line

In March, this paper ran a series about the deaths and disappearances of 21 people in East Timor in 1999, including Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes. United Nations investigators estimate that last September at least 500 people were murdered there.

On Friday, Indonesia's attorney general made public the names of 19 suspects, including three Indonesian Army generals. It's a start. But this newspaper - as well as international investigators and Indonesian human rights groups - has spoken with witnesses who name, for example, the commander of Battalion 745. Neither he nor key militia members are on the list of suspects. There's suspicion that Indonesian military officials are influencing the investigation. Some organizations are calling for an international body to take up the cases. Others say they'll be patient.

Quote of note: "This list is far more than disappointing, it is an indication that the time has come for the UN, the US, and other governments to call, unreservedly, for an international human rights tribunal." - Lynn Fredriksson, East Timor Action Network.

David Clark Scott World editor


*TALKING TO CAR THIEVES: Alex Todorovic was puzzled by the abundance of nice cars he saw in Montenegro, a part of Yugoslavia with an annual per capita income less than $1,000. He started poking around. He went to a Sunday flea market, where many stolen cars are sold, but the venders "didn't want anything to do with a reporter." Finally, through an intermediary, he made contact with a car thief. At first, the man refused to meet him; he thought Alex was working for a foreign law-enforcement agency. Alex finally persuaded the thief to sit down for an interview. "We met in a little cafe outside of town. He made me promise not to use his name or even describe him," says Alex. "The thief didn't seem afraid that the police would find him. In fact, he said Yugoslavian police were hired to drive the stolen cars to the border. If they got stopped, they just waved their badges. But he was afraid that his criminal colleagues might find out that he'd spoken to a journalist."

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