- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

Battle royal roils queen's Australia visit

SYDNEY, Australia The government was facing constitutional turmoil yesterday, a week before a visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, as the prime minister refused to sack her representative here over a deepening child-abuse scandal.

Prime Minister John Howard said he found no grounds on which to advise the queen to terminate Governor-General Peter Hollingworth's appointment despite claims he had covered up complaints of child sex abuse while he was Anglican archbishop of Brisbane.

"People will say, and he has admitted, that he has probably been guilty of some errors of judgment in relation to certain matters, but that is … [not] a hanging offense," Mr. Howard told reporters.

His comment came after opposition Labor leader Simon Crean said his party had withdrawn its support for Mr. Hollingworth and was seeking his dismissal.

7 senior officials face trial in Timor killings

JAKARTA, Indonesia Prosecutors charged seven senior officials yesterday in the killings of more than 100 civilians during East Timor's break with Indonesia in 1999.

The United Nations blames Indonesia's security forces for orchestrating the bloodshed, in which hundreds of people were killed and much of the territory's housing and infrastructure destroyed after an independence referendum on Aug. 1, 1999.

Former East Timor Gov. Abilio Soares, East Timor police Chief Brig. Gen. Timbul Silaen, and Col. Herman Sedyono, a former district head, were the most senior officials charged, said Barman Zahir, a prosecutor and spokesman for the attorney general's office.

EU asks U.N. to seek Khmer Rouge trials

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia The European Union yesterday joined a growing chorus of international voices urging the United Nations not to close its doors on talks to set up a trial of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders.

The EU said it remained attached to a tribunal capable of delivering justice, objectively and impartially, to Cambodians and the victims of the 1975-79 ultra-Maoist regime.

"While appreciating the difficulty of the task," the EU said in a statement issued here through the German Embassy, "the EU encourages the United Nations Secretariat to keep the door open to a resumption of the negotiations in the near future to ensure the establishment of an internationally credible tribunal."

The United States, France and Australia have already lent their weight to a resumption of talks, but nongovernmental organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch back the United Nations' walkout.

Weekly notes

Japan said it was boycotting a meeting scheduled to begin yesterday in Papua New Guinea to discuss new regulations on tuna catches in the Pacific, claiming the proposed rules cover unnecessarily large areas and lack proper negotiation procedures. … U.S. special forces deployed in the southern Philippines as part of Washington's global war on terrorism will build a mosque, donate blood and help treat sick children, officials announced on southern Basilan Island yesterday.

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