Subject: AP: Ramos-Horta tells U.N. no reprisals, but justice needed

Nobel laureate Ramos-Horta tells U.N. no reprisals, but justice needed By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS

04/12/2000 Associated Press Newswires

GENEVA (AP) - Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta told the top U.N. human rights body Wednesday that justice must be done to East Timor 's former persecutors.

"We harbor no hatred or desire to exercise reprisals against those who have harmed us," Ramos-Horta told the 53-nation Human Rights Commission. "We won an epic battle, but it was a battle of minds, not one of weapons."

Ramos-Horta, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his campaign for the East Timor people, commended Indonesian authorities for the steps they have taken so far "to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes in East Timor ."

East Timor and Indonesia are trying to bury the past and normalize relations, he added.

"In demanding justice for our victims, we are demanding that impunity must come to an end everywhere," Ramos-Horta said. "How can anyone imagine that a head of state, political or military leaders, directly or indirectly responsible for torture, murder and rape should be immune from prosecution and jail?"

Mary Robinson, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, also released her report on East Timor to the commission Wednesday based on a visit she made last year.

"There is overwhelming evidence that East Timor has seen a deliberate, vicious and systematic campaign of gross violations of human rights," Robinson said.

Ramos-Horta agreed.

"The destruction of East Timor was well-planned," he said. "Town after town, building after building, village after village, were burned out, blown up with well-placed explosives.

"Almost every single household was looted, thousands of domestic animals were killed, hundreds of innocent people died in the space of days, a quarter of a million people were abducted."

Now that East Timor has attained peace and freedom after a quarter century of suffering, Ramos-Horta said he hesitated to reappear before the U.N. body for fear it might divert attention from "many more tragic situations that are not even on the commission's agenda."

He said the world had been generous in its spending on East Timor , with more than dlrs 1.2 billion already going for aid and peacekeeping.

But more will be needed because East Timor still lacks basic services, Ramos-Horta said.

The United Nations has been administering East Timor since an international intervention force moved in to curb pro-Indonesian militias that went on a rampage to protest the overwhelming independence vote last Sept. 30.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it a year later.

April Menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from