Indonesian president postpones Dutch visit

Tue Oct 5, 2010 10:24am GMT

"We are still in contact," he said.


Activists associated with the Republic of South Moluccas movement had asked a Dutch court for an injunction to have Yudhoyono arrested for alleged human rights violations in Indonesia, a court spokeswoman in The Hague said.

She said legal immunity rules would prevent the president's prosecution but the Moluccan group had also requested the court to lift that ban.

Yudhoyono's spokesman, Julian Pasha, said three Dutch citizens had filed the request to the court, and that the president was concerned the court proceedings could be speeded up to coincide with his visit this week.

Although the Dutch government had granted the president full diplomatic immunity, a decision on the case during his visit could be "unpleasant for the honour of the president and this nation."

"This was actually the fourth or the fifth time the president has cancelled the trip," Pasha added.

Andre de Hoogh, senior lecturer international law at Groningen University, said the Dutch court could not issue an arrest warrant for Yudhoyono because it would conflict with international law which grants immunity to heads of state.

"It is an unlucky situation when a head of state cancels a visit, of course. Political relations may come under pressure a bit but at the same time I don't think this is of great importance," De Hoogh said.

He did not expect Dutch-Indonesian relations to suffer from the decision.

(Additional reporting by Gilbert Kreijger in Amsterdam; Editing by Sara Webb and Sugita Katyal)

<p>Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (C) inspects military forces during the 65th anniversary of the military at a base in Jakarta, October 5, 2010. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni</p>
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