East Timor ACTION Network ALERT
Senate and House Letters Demand End to Military Campaign in Aceh and Justice for East Timor
Call Your Senators and Representatives Today to Sign on to Letters
The Indonesian military (TNI) recently launched a massive military assault on the people of Aceh following the imposition of martial law on May 19. Civilian casualties are mounting rapidly, with village massacres reported. The TNI plans to forcibly relocate as many as 200,000 people to military-supervised camps. Human rights monitors and nonviolent advocates have been targeted. U.S.-supplied weapons have been used in the assault.
The TNI continues to successfully evaded accountability for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor. The final verdict of Indonesiaís ad hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor is due July 1, and the prosecutor recently announced he would request an acquittal. As of now, the court has acquitted 12 and convicted five, delivering light sentences.
The House of Representatives and the Senate are each circulating two Dear Colleague letters one on the military assault in Aceh, and the other on justice for East Timor. Call your Representative and Senators today to urge them to sign these letters! The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121. (Please note that the latest list of signers is below.)
Tell Senators to:
Tell Representatives to:
Please call your Senators and Representative today. The lettersí deadlines are approaching quickly we have limited time to maximize the pressure! If you don't know who your Senators or Representative are go to www.congress.org and enter your zip code. The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
You are the key to Congressional support. Your calls do make a difference. Please let us know the results of your calls by contacting John M. Miller, ETANís Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Aceh: Last month, the Indonesian military launched its largest military offensive since the 1975 invasion of East Timor, obliterating an internationally-supported ceasefire agreement in Aceh. The government has imposed martial law and restricted media access. Civilian casualties of TNI "sweeps," including children, are mounting rapidly. Thousands of civilians have fled their villages, and the TNI plans to forcibly relocate as many as 200,000 others to military-supervised camps. Human rights monitors and nonviolent advocates have been targeted with threats, arrests, attacks, torture, and extrajudicial killing. The government has warned foreign aid organizations to leave the province and threatened to impose press censorship. U.S.-supplied weapons have reportedly been used in the assault, including OV-10 Bronco counter-insurgency aircraft, C-130 Hercules transport planes, and F-16 fighter jets. The Bush administration has said the conflict cannot be resolved militarily and has urged a return to negotiations.
Justice for East Timor: The TNI has thus far successfully evaded accountability for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor. The Indonesian Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for East Timor has been characterized by poorly drawn indictments, inadequate witness protection, an intimidating courtroom atmosphere and distortions of events that took place in 1999. The courtís very limited mandate (two months of 1999 in three of East Timorís 13 districts) makes a systematic accounting of the coordination and policy behind the 1999 violence impossible and ignores the many atrocities that took place outside of the mandate and prior to 1999. The alleged masterminds of the 1999 scorched earth campaign have not been prosecuted by Indonesia. As of now, the court has acquitted 12 and convicted five, delivering light sentences (four of the five are less than the legal minimum under Indonesian law); those convicted remain free pending appeal. The final verdict is due July 1st, and the prosecutor recently announced he would request an acquittal of Major General Adam Damiri, the highest-ranking officer prosecuted. Damiri has missed several court appearances because he is involved in the military assault on Aceh.
In East Timor, the UN-East Timor Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) investigates and prosecutes crimes against humanity committed in 1999. The Special Panels are courts that hear these cases. The SCU and Special Panels, as well as the East Timorese governmentís own judicial system, are severely under-resourced. The SCU and Special Panels will expire at the end of May 2004 unless their mandate is extended, leaving unfinished investigations and trials, and denying justice. Thus far, nearly two-thirds of the 247 people already indicted by the SCU are in Indonesia, yet Indonesian authorities have refused to cooperate. Indeed, Indonesian authorities have threatened East Timor over the SCUís indictment of high-level Indonesian military personnel, including General Wiranto.
Signatures as of June 23, 2003
House of Representatives
Baldwin (D-WI) on Justice
Feinstein (D-CA) Letter on Aceh