Subject: USGOV: response to recent verdicts

State Department response to last week's acquittals and conviction of Eurico Guterres (last week of November/first week of December, 2002)

Please note that the following was read to me over the telephone by a member of the U.S. State Department's press office, so a few words may be missing or incorrect. The State Department won't be issuing any formal release on this topic - largely because there were no questions on the verdicts posed at State's daily press briefings.

Karen Orenstein

We are disappointed with the latest acquittals by the Indonesian government's ad hoc tribunal.

We note with deep concern that the only convictions thus far are of East Timorese nationals. As yet no members of the Indonesian security forces have been held accountable.

We are dismayed that prosecutors have consistently failed to use the resources and evidence available to them from the UN and elsewhere in documenting the East Timor atrocities.

The process to date raises strong doubts about Indonesia's commitment to the rule-of-law and holding those guilty of crimes against humanity responsible for their actions.

We continue to strongly urge the government of Indonesia to mount effective prosecutions of the remaining cases in a manner that meets international standards of justice and fully utilizes the wealth of available evidence.

Although withholding final judgment until the process is complete including all appeals the U.S. will begin once again exploring international options for bringing to justice those responsible for atrocities in East Timor.

Karen Orenstein Washington Coordinator East Timor Action Network:10 Years for Self-Determination & Justice PO Box 15774 Washington, DC 20003-0774 202-544-6911 (tel.), 202-544-6118 (fax)

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