|Subject: APCET letter to UN Security
Council on International Tribunal
29 October, 2001
The Honorable Permanent Ambassadors Security Council Countries United
Allow us to communicate our concerns to you on your impending crucial
meeting of the United Nations Security Council on East Timor this week. We
are a coalition formed in 1994 to support the self-determination of East
Timor. We have at present 17 affiliates from Asia-Pacific countries.
We are writing to urge you to establish an international tribunal to
try the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in East
Timor from 1975 onward.
We believe that the formation of the tribunal will ensure that no
further crimes are committed against the people of East Timor and that
past transgressors will be brought to justice. Such tribunal will also
send a strong signal to potential criminals elsewhere in the world that
crimes like these will not go unpunished.
However, the United Nations seems to be waiting for the Indonesian
justice system to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to trial. But we
believe that justice for East Timor under the Indonesia system is far from
possible, if at all. Indonesia has so far only succeeded in creating the
Indonesian Commission of Inquiry (KPP HAM) and has only organized recently
the ad hoc court on East Timor.
While we commend this initiative and salute the dedication and
credentials of some of its members, the performance of these two entities
are far from satisfactory. The light sentences slapped on the murderers of
the three workers of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees at
Atambua in September 2000 demonstrates Indonesia's inability to deliver
And after naming 22 suspects (none of whom were top-level military
officers) for crimes committed in East Timor, the Indonesian court process
has only resulted in numerous postponements for the trials and the
dwindling number of suspects and incidents being investigated.
Both the KPP-HAM and the International Commission of Inquiry
established by the UNHCR have recommended last year that high-level
Indonesian military commanders should be prosecuted, and that an
international court is the only practical way to accomplish this.
But the passing events only reveal that Indonesia cannot or will not
prosecute its high-ranking military officers. Many of the TNI officers
responsible for planning the 1975 invasion, the crimes from thereon up to
the systematic destruction in East Timor in 1999 are still holding
influential positions in Indonesia. In fact, their bloodied boots are
running roughshod again in conflict-torn Aceh and West Papua. This
continuing impunity has to be stopped.
Your Excellencies, there is paramount need to establish an effective
mechanism to investigate, prosecute and punish those who committed
flagrant violations of international law in East Timor. We strongly urge
you to implement the recommendations of the UN Commission of Inquiry and
endorse now the creation of an international tribunal for East Timor.
As a non-governmental movement, we can choose other avenues of redress,
one of which is to pursue the issue in the bar of international opinion or
seek justice before international civil society processes.
We are however hopeful that your Excellencies will mark this month's
commemoration of the UN's birthing by being true to the principles of
which you were founded. In this era when peoples of the world have almost
lost faith and trust in entities such as the UN, establishing an
international tribunal for East Timor will be an apt celebration of the
ideals that engendered the UN.
We pray that you do not scuttle this chance.
Thank you for your consideration of this urgent issue.
Mr. Augusto N. Miclat, Jr. Coordinator
cc: Foreign Ministers of Portugal and Indonesia Members of the United
Nations Security Council
-- Victor C. Sapar ICT Officer Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Tel.: (63)(82) 2992574 and 75 Fax: (63)(82) 2992052 www.iidnet.org
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