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#58512 - 12 Aug 07 20:37 Suharto case begins in Indonesia
Magpie Offline
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Registered: 29 Mar 06
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Loc: The Toon
Judges in Indonesia have begun hearing a civil suit against former President Suharto, meant to recover state funds said to have vanished during his rule.
Prosecutors are seeking $440m (219m) they say disappeared from a scholarship fund, and a further $1.1bn in damages.

They have been under pressure to file a civil case since the courts blocked a criminal case last year on the grounds of Mr Suharto's ill health.

The 86-year-old former dictator ruled Indonesia for 32 years.

He was ousted in 1998 amid nationwide protests.

Legal loopholes?

The ailing former president was not in court for Thursday's proceedings.

In a session lasting just 20 minutes, judges gave the prosecution team and lawyers defending Mr Suharto a month to try to reach a settlement.

The attorney-general's director of civil suits described the month-long postponement as a delaying tactic, and accused the defence lawyer of using legal loopholes to hold up the trial.

The lawyer had argued that the current attorney-general did not have the jurisdiction to bring the case against Mr Suharto, as that power had been handed to his predecessor.

If no agreement is reached in the course of the next month, the case will return to court.

Mr Suharto faced numerous allegations of corruption during his rule, but in May 2006 prosecutors closed the criminal case for corruption against him, citing health grounds.

The octogenarian has had a number of strokes and last year underwent stomach surgery.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6938031.stm
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#58517 - 12 Aug 07 20:51 Re: Suharto case begins in Indonesia [Re: Magpie]
Magpie Offline
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Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
Mediation ordered to settle Soeharto graft case

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The first day in court in the Attorney General's Office (AGO)'s graft case against former president Soeharto has ended with both sides being told to go to mediation.

But if there is one thing they can both agree on, it's that the mediation won't work.

Presiding judge Wahjono used Thursday's initial hearing at the South Jakarta District Court to tell the AGO and Soeharto to undergo mediation.

Wahjono appointed judge Sulthoni as mediator with the consent of both sides, who also agreed on Aug. 23 as the date for the first mediation session.

Yoseph Suardi Sabda, an AGO director for civil and state administrative crimes, said Thursday a compromise would be ideal."The best way (to settle the case) would be to bring both President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Soeharto face-to-face," he said.

But Yoseph said it was highly unlikely both men would meet, instead opting to send in their respective teams of lawyers.

He added that mediation failed in around 90 percent of civil cases.

One of Soeharto's lawyers. M. Assegaf, said after Thursday's court session he was unconvinced mediation would lead to any solution.

If the mediation fails, the case would go to trial as stipulated by article 12 of a 2003 Supreme Court regulation.

Another article of the same regulation obliges judges to order mediation as the first stage in dealing with a civil case.

The AGO filed the civil lawsuit against Soeharto at the South Jakarta District Court last month, demanding the return of almost Rp 15 trillion (US$1.6 billion) obtained through Soeharto's Supersemar foundation. The suit also calls for the seizure of the Granadi building in Kuningan, South Jakarta, which houses the foundation.

Soeharto founded the charity, which was meant to provide scholarships to students, through a government regulation in 1976.

The AGO alleges that the money was instead illegally siphoned off to Kosgoro cooperatives and the Nusamba group of companies managed by Bob Hasan, one of Soeharto's confidants.
_________________________
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Peter Kay

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