Subject: East Timorese Call for International Human Rights Tribunal

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

AFP, Saturday August 17, 2002

East Timorese call for international human rights tribunal

About 60 human rights activists have demonstrated in the East Timorese capital Dili demanding an international tribunal into the 1999 violence that devastated the former Indonesian province.

Carrying signs reading "We need an international tribunal" and "Where is the justice?", the protesters planned to march on the American, English, Chinese and Indonesian embassies to press their demands Saturday.

They said they were disappointed with the verdicts issued this week by three human rights courts in Jakarta, and called the process a stage show.

The former East Timorese governor, Abilio Soares, received a three-year prison term, while East Timor's former police chief and five other military and police officers were acquitted of gross human rights violations.

The verdicts drew widespread criticism from Indonesian human rights workers as well as from Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

"We're carrying out this demonstration because of our disappointment toward the court's decisions and also our big disappointment towards Washington for giving support to the court's decision," said one protester, Ivete Oliviera.

Following the verdicts, a White House spokesman praised Indonesia in general terms for trying government and military officials for human rights abuses in East Timor, but did not comment specific on the cases of Soares and the others.

Indonesia set up the rights court to deflect foreign pressure for an international human rights tribunal into the violence which UN and Indonesian human rights inquiries have said was linked to Indonesian security forces.

After this week's verdicts, calls for an international tribunal have resurfaced.

At least 1,000 East Timorese are estimated to have died in 1999 and whole towns were burned to the ground during violence ahead of, and following, the August 30, 1999 ballot in which East Timorese voted to separate from Indonesia.

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