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Indonesia court orders settlement talks in civil corruption lawsuit against Suharto

[JURIST] An Indonesian court on Thursday ordered lawyers for the government and former Indonesian President Haji Mohammad Suharto [CNN profile] to attempt mediation for 30 days to settle the government's civil lawsuit [JURIST report] against Suharto for allegedly embezzling $440 million between 1974 and 1998 from the Yayasan Supersemar, a state-funded academic scholar fund. Indonesian law requires that parties try mediation to resolve civil disputes before courts may proceed with a case. The lawsuit, which seeks to recover the $440 million and an additional $1.1 billion in damages, represents the latest effort by the Indonesian government to hold Suharto accountable for his 32-year reign, which ended in 1998 after public discontent amid the Asian financial crisis erupted into violent protests.

In January, Indonesian Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh announced plans to bring the civil action [JURIST report] against Suharto after dropping criminal charges of corruption [JURIST report] because Suharto has been rendered unable to speak or write [JURIST report] as a result of several strokes. AFP has more. Xinhua has additional coverage.

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