Subject: Indonesia, E. Timor Reject UN Proposal for Intl Tribunal [2 reports]

also: Indonesia downplays criticism of East Timor atrocity trials

The Associated Press July 8, 2005

Indonesia, East Timor reject U.N. proposal for international tribunal

East Timor on Friday stood by its former occupier, Indonesia, in jointly rejecting a U.N. panel's recommendation that an international tribunal be created to try those accused of violence sparked by the territory's vote for independence in 1999.

The joint statement, released in Jakarta, signaled East Timor's intent to pursue good relations with its giant neighbor rather than seek justice for more than 1,500 Timorese killed when Indonesian-backed soldiers and militias launched a bloody rampage before and after the independence vote.

It also reflects improving ties between the two countries following the end of Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.

"Both parties expressed their disappointment toward the report of the commission of experts," the statement said, referring to a U.N. panel that recommended the creation of an international tribunal. "Both parties shared the opinion that the commission does not promote the process of reconciliation."

Following the 1999 violence, Indonesia promised to punish those responsible, but all 17 police, military and government officers who stood trial were acquitted.

The U.N. panel, consisting of five international judges who visited Indonesia and East Timor earlier this year, was appointed to evaluate Indonesia's attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It submitted a report to the U.N. Security Council last week that described Jakarta's efforts to secure justice as "manifestly inadequate."

The report recommended that the Security Council establish an international criminal tribunal akin to those for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda unless Indonesia takes "substantive action" within six months.

East Timor had previously opposed such a court, saying relations with Indonesia were more important than settling old scores.

The two countries recently set up a joint Commission on Truth and Friendship to deal with the violence. The body, staffed by officials from both countries, will investigate the violence but has no power to recommend criminal proceedings.

The two countries also signed agreements establishing a provisional land border as well as technical assistance and training in Indonesia for Timorese civil servants.


Indonesia downplays criticism of East Timor atrocity trials

JAKARTA, July 8 (AFP) -- Indonesia Friday downplayed international criticism of its failure to account for atrocities committed by pro-Indonesian forces during East Timor's 1999 independence vote, saying it was time to leave the past behind.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said Indonesia and East Timor would proceed with reconciliation plans through a joint panel called the Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) rather than dwell on past events.

"There are those who do not agree with us, but what is important is our relationship, our shared destiny. Hence, we will forge ahead according to our own light on what is true, just and sensible," Wirayuda said.

He was speaking during a meeting with an East Timor delegation led by Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta.

"The CTF presents a unique opportunity for our two countries, being the most directly concerned, to bring both truth and justice into the light of day, thereby consolidating our friendship," Wirayuda said.

Indonesia has rejected a recommendation by the UN Commission of Experts that an international tribunal be set up to judge military officers and others accused of atrocities in East Timor in 1999.

Pro-Indonesian militia gangs, allegedly directed by Indonesian army officers, went on a rampage before and after East Timorese voted for independence from Jakarta in a UN-sponsored ballot in August of that year.

They killed about 1,400 independence supporters and laid waste to much of the infrastructure.

Human rights trials held in Indonesia to try those responsible -- and deflect UN calls for a proper tribunal -- ended last year after acquitting all but one of the 18 security officers or officials who appeared before them.

The UN commission said Indonesia's human rights court was "manifestly inadequate" and "shows scant respect for -- or conformity to -- relevant international standards".

The three-member panel recommended that the UN Secretary General require Indonesia to account for its prosecutions within six months or allow an international tribunal to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.

The Jakarta government has formally rejected the recommendation. East Timor leaders have also said they do not support an international tribunal, preferring to focus on good ties with their giant neighbour.

"Where else have two nations who have shared a turbulent past been bold enough to face the future in such a way?" Ramos-Horta said.

He added that East Timor would soon appoint five candidates who possess "credibility and integrity" to represent Dili in the CTF.

Indonesia would name its candidates by the end of next week, Wirayuda said.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, gained full independence in May 2002 after more than two years of UN stewardship, which followed a quarter of a century of Indonesian occupation.

Back to July menu 
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu