Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 23 December 2004

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 23 December 2004

Indonesia, Timor agree on Joint Commission to investigate 1999 crimes Jakarta Indonesia and East Timor have agreed to set up a joint commission to investigate the murder and destruction surrounding the Timorese vote for independence from Indonesia in 1999. Human Rights campaigners have expressed doubts about how seriously the two countries want to look into the matter. No one knows exactly how many people died during Jakarta’s bloody campaign to intimidate the East Timorese into voting to remain part of Indonesia. The United Nations Serious Crimes Unit estimates that the number is about 1,500, but six years after the fact, Indonesia has failed to hold responsible anyone in the armed forces or their proxies in the militias.

Human rights campaigners say they are worried that in pursuit of this policy, the Timorese government will be party to another attempt by the Indonesians to whitewash the killings. The announcement of the joint commission has failed to placate rights activists. They say the government of neither country has shown any will to press for the effective prosecution of those responsible for the 1999 violence.

Joaquim Fonseca, who worked for a human rights monitoring organisation in Timor in 1999, and is now a university lecturer in the East Timorese capital Dili, has no faith in the new commission. “I don’t think that is the way to go, because in any case the brief of that commission wouldn’t be justice, so people should not expect it to serve justice…I don’t see it as an appropriate measure to address the issue of injustice in East Timor”, he said.

A number of countries, including the United States and Britain, are pushing for an international committee to review the failure of previous tribunals to assign guilt to anyone. Senior Indonesian officials have told the media the new commission is designed to head off such moves. (VOA)

Timor-Leste Alliance reaction on proposal by Timor-Leste and Indonesia

Timor-Leste National Alliance (ANTL) for an International Tribunal stated that the proposal by both Timor-Leste and Indonesian governments to form a “Truth and Friendship Commission” has wiped out the expectation of the victims of human rights violation in Timor-Leste to obtain justice through a legal process. ANTL states, “It seems that both the Timor-Leste and Indonesia governments want to nurture impunity and protect the perpetrators of human rights violations. It also indicates that both governments will not care about the process that is currently being undertaken by the Serious Crimes Unit, Special Panel as well as the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation. ANTL supports the UN Secretary-General’s statement regarding ‘no’ impunity on the justice process between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. (STL)

Indonesian Border Security Agency Ready to Cooperate

Indonesian Border Security Agency, Satgas Pamtas, is ready to cooperate with Timor-Leste and its security agencies in order to maintain security in the border area. The Commandant of Satgas Pamtas, Colonel Aris Setiabudi, made the above statement following his meeting with Timor-Leste’s Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro and the Deputy of the National Parliament Jacob Fernandes in Atambua on Saturday, December 18th. Colonel Setiabudi added that the Indonesian army’s existence is not just to ensure the sovereignty of the two countries but also to protect the community as well as to guard against illegal activities taking place in the border areas. Colonel Setiabudi further suggested establishing a joint communication facility to foster better coordination between BPU and TNI. (STL)

Lu-Olo: Fretilin never prohibits other parties to participate in Suco Chief Elections

Speaking in his capacity as President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres “Lu-Olo” told the media on Wednesday that Fretilin never prohibits other parties to participate in the upcoming suco chiefs and the council of sucos elections. Lu-Olo further argued that this was due to the fact that it was Fretilin, as the major party, that approved the law on political parties at the Parliament. “It is not true when some people think that it is the Fretilin which does not want other parties to participate in the elections”, Lu-Olo affirmed.

Meanwhile, when assessing independence, Lu-Olo, who at this time spoke as the President of National Parliament, said that some people view independence negatively. “Some people say that during two years of independence, we have not done anything. This, I think, we seem to be too pessimistic about it. In my view, Timor-Leste will be much better compared to other nations, even though we have just gained our independence for two years”. He further said that all components of the nation have the responsibility to view the process of independence as a whole, adding that in so doing, the Timorese will be able to assess it properly. (Timor Post)

João Carrascalão: UDT has no intention to put down others

After meeting with President Xanana Gusmão on Wednesday, UDT’s President João Carrascalão told the media that his party has no intention to put down others. Even though there are a lot of things that are not running efficiently, it always wants to offer constructive contribution for the development of the country. “To develop Timor-Leste to become a prosperous nation, it is not only the work of a single political party but there should be a contribution of all political parties. Thus, the party in power should accept whatever opinions presented by the minor parties,” Carrasclão stated. (Timor Post)

Francisco Branco: Christmas and New Year are times of reflection

Head of Fretilin party bench, Francisco Branco said that Christmas and New Year are times of reflection for those who have faith, and for citizens who live in the society of Timor-Leste as a nation. “When reflecting upon the past, we all feel that lots has been done but much more needs to be done. With this in mind, we need to make a great effort, we need to have solidarity and national unity in order to create stability, and a conducive atmosphere for carrying out the development of the nation,” Branco said. (Timor Post)

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