Subject: APSOC Statement Dec 7, 2005

FOR RELEASE

APSOC Statement on the Anniversary of the Invasion of East Timor

7 December 2005

Delivering Justice for Timor: 31 Years and Still Counting

We continue to remember the Indonesian invasion and illegal annexation of the small nation of East Timor, now officially known as the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste. Soon after the invasion on December 7, 1974, East Timor became the 28th province of the Republic of Indonesia. The invasion started the crimes against humanity in the small territory of less than 1 million people, grave crimes for which true justice still remains undelivered to date.

Indonesia had support of the US State Department under Henry Kissinger for the invasion and illegal occupation of East Timor. For more than 24 years before finally gaining independence under a UN-supervised referendum in 1999, the Timorese suffered gross human rights abuses and intense militarization. US military ties with Indonesia was very strong during those 24 years of struggle. However, following the exposure of TNI excesses and growing international support for Timor’s independence, the US severed diplomatic ties and military aid to Indonesia.

But in a recent move to resume US military relations with Indonesia -- premised on the U.S belief that Indonesia has been successful in its efforts at democratic reforms - Indonesia will again enjoy full military support from the US.

Indonesia’s vaunted democracy is however a euphemism considering the fact that human rights violations continue unabated as recently in tsunami-devastated Aceh, in West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. Most significantly, the military officers responsible for the crimes against humanity in East Timor remain free and enjoy impunity and some have in fact been deployed to oversee military operations in the current conflict areas ­ perhaps to reprise the atrocities they committed in East Timor.

In marking the 31st anniversary of the invasion of East Timor, we remember the estimated 200,000 East Timorese who perished in the invasion or during the occupation as well as those who survived those difficult years. We in APSOC extend our solidarity to the Timorese people in their continuing quest for justice and genuine development.

We continue to urge the United Nations to act on the recommendations released this year by the Commission of Experts for justice in East Timor for the creation of an international tribunal for East Timor. We still believe that the criminal trials that will be conducted in a UN-created international tribunal will deliver the legitimacy, force and weight to sanction and punish the war criminals in Timor. ( - )


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