Subject: RT: Timor Upset by Indonesia Verdict



Bangkok, Aug 7 Reuters - East Timor said on Thursday it was upset by what it sees as a lenient jail term for a top Indonesian general over bloodshed during its independence vote in 1999, but said it will not press for an international tribunal.

East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta told Reuters Indonesia's special human rights court should have jailed Major General Adam Damiri, regional commander at the time of the violence, to more than the three year sentence it gave him.

"We are obviously thoroughly disappointed," Horta said during a visit to Thailand.

"This issue is not just an East Timorese responsibility, it is also the international community's. It's countries like the United States, the European Union and others who should talk to Indonesia and find other alternatives, short of a tribunal, that will give justice to the people of East Timor."

Damiri was the last of 18 people to be tried by the court, which has acquitted most other suspects and handed out light sentences to those convicted, drawing widespread criticism from international and domestic human rights groups.

The verdict on Damiri on Tuesday also drew a protest from Washington, which said it was disappointed by the tribunal's work and by its sentence on Damiri, saying it was well below the 10-year minimum recommended by Indonesian law.

Indonesia set up the special court in a bid to convince an outraged world it would account for the carnage surrounding East Timor's vote to break free from Jakarta's rule in August 1999, when militia gangs backed by elements in the Indonesian military went on a killing spree.

The United Nations estimates 1000 people were killed in the mayhem.

But Horta said East Timor's priority was competing for development aid, not campaigning for an international tribunal.

"There was a grave injustice committed on the people of Timor, that injustice was rectified, the country is free," he said.

"We should have the courage, the strength to forgive others that might not have the same courage to look themselves in the mirror and acknowledge also their past mistakes. If they don't, that is their problem."

Reuters km

Back to August menu
World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu