|Also: Letter in International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France),
August 23, 2000; East Timor needs help to rebuild,
Times, London, August 30, 2000
The New York Times
September 1, 2000, Friday, Late Edition - Final
Justice in East Timor
To the Editor:
Re "Indonesians Differ on Penalties for the Past" (news
article, Aug. 27): Forceful prosecutions of those who committed rights
abuses in Indonesia and East Timor are necessary if Indonesia is to build
a democratic future. Elements of the Indonesian military continue to
create mischief -- for example, by backing militias that harass East Timor
and block the return of refugees.
An international tribunal should be set up to deal with crimes against
the East Timorese since 1975, when Indonesia illegally invaded its
neighbor. Last January, a United Nations investigation recommended a
tribunal for military and militia violence during last year's independence
plebiscite. Creating a tribunal is especially urgent now that Indonesia's
consultative assembly has amended the Constitution to let the abusers off
the hook, crippling its own prosecutors' ability to try past injustices.
JOHN M. MILLER
Brooklyn, Aug. 27, 2000
The writer is media coordinator for the East Timor Action Network.
from: International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)
August 23, 2000, Wednesday Opinion; Pg. 9
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Justice for Indonesia
Regarding ''In Indonesia, Safeguards for Military Over Rights Abuses''
(Aug. 19): Indonesia's Parliament has turned its back on its own
government's pledges to bring to justice those responsible for the
violence and destruction during last year's vote in East Timor.
The passage of a constitutional amendment foreclosing prosecution for
past human rights abuses is a near fatal blow to efforts to hold the
Indonesian military accountable for past crimes. In January, a UN
investigation recommended an international tribunal. An international
tribunal could guarantee several things that Indonesia cannot: first, that
victims of military and militia violence in East Timor will have their day
in court. Even without the recent legislative maneuvers, many East
Timorese were fearful of traveling to Indonesia to testify. A tribunal
will also punish the guilty. President Abdurrahman Wahid has already
pledged to pardon General Wiranto, the former armed forces commander who
failed to control his troops.
The Indonesian military's abuses of human rights rise to the level of
crimes against humanity. They were central to a systematic effort to
undermine an internationally sanctioned plebiscite. For that reason the
United Nations has a special obligation to prosecute. Indonesian
prosecutors should be invited to join the effort, but it is international
law, not the shell of Indonesian law, that must apply.
JOHN M. MILLER. Brooklyn, New York.
The writer is media coordinator for the East Timor Action Network/U.S.
The Times [London] August 30 2000
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
East Timor needs help to rebuild
From the Director of Oxfam and others
Sir, On August 30 a year ago, the people of East Timor defied the
intimidation and violence of militias and Indonesian soldiers and voted
East Timor is now a nation in its own right but it has paid a high
price. Weeks of violence both before and after the ballot effectively
destroyed the territory's infrastructure and crippled its economy. A year
later there is peace and the United Nations has established a transitional
administration (UNTAET), but the violence of the past still overshadows
the country's development.
More than 130,000 East Timorese remain in refugee camps in West Timor.
The international community must, as a matter of priority, work with the
Indonesian Government and the East Timor authorities to ensure that the
camps are demilitarised, and that those who wish to return can do so in
safety. The international com- munity must also ensure support for any
effort undertaken by Indonesia's Government to provide safety for those
who chose to stay in Indonesia.
Rebuilding a country requires generous funding by donors and the United
Nations. Pledges made by donor countries to UNTAET trust funds should be
honoured. Also the perpetrators of war crimes must be brought to justice
according to inter- national standards.
Ultimately East Timor's future lies in the hands of the people who
fought so hard for its independence. The international community, donors
and aid agencies must work with local people to safeguard the future of
the world's newest democracy.
DAVID BRYER, Director, Oxfam,
JULIAN FILOCHOWSKI, Director, Catholic Fund for Overseas
IAN LINDEN, Director, Catholic Institute for International
c/o Oxfam, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7DZ.
August 30, 2000
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