Indonesia has charged seven of its soldiers and policemen with crimes against humanity for their involvement in the violence in East Timor in 1999 that left hundreds of people dead and tens of thousands displaced. The seriousness of the charges against some of their own is a first for Indonesia. The seven men are from an already shortened list of 18 suspects named by Jakarta investigators in 2000. The highest-ranking suspect on the list, former regional military chief Major-General Adam Damiri, has not yet been formally charged. Former armed forces chief General Wiranto was not among the 18. Most senior among those charged were former East Timor governor Abilio Soares, East Timor police chief Brigadier-General Timbul Silaen and former district head Colonel Herman Sedyono. A spokesman for the Attorney-General's office, Barman Zahir, said four lower-ranking military and police officers were also charged. The seven will face an ad hoc court established by presidential decree last year with the intention of forestalling demands for an international war crimes tribunal. Although scepticism is high among rights activists and diplomats that senior military officers will ever be held accountable for the East Timor violence, pressure is growing for Jakarta to be seen to be doing something. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (Untaet) this week indicted 17 generals and others for genocide. They included the militia boss Eurico Guterres, who holds a senior position in President Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle. Those indicted also face being placed on Interpol warrants and cannot therefore risk travel abroad. Untaet has charged 99 people in connection to the violence. Indonesia has said it will not consider extraditing the 17 to face trial in East Timor. But the progress of legal efforts in East Timor puts pressure on Jakarta to produce its own version of justice. Moreover, the UN Human Rights Commission will sit in Geneva next month to consider, among other issues, whether Indonesia is living up to the commitments it gave in order to counteract demands for an international trial. The likely fate of the seven men charged by Jakarta remains unclear. Despite the gravity of the charges, which include genocide, observers do not expect to see the men detained. But diplomats point out that once a legal process is under way it is hard to control or predict its outcome. 'Once the court is functioning, it cannot be stopped and we don't know what will happen. Even if the judges are corrupt and inexperienced, we don't know how they will act,' one said.