Subject: East Timor truth commission set to start Aug. 1


East Timor truth commission set to start Aug. 1

19 Jul 2005 08:20:07 GMT Source: Reuters

JAKARTA, July 19 (Reuters) - A joint truth commission set up by Indonesia and East Timor will start work on Aug. 1, hoping to put behind the Asian neighbours a 1999 rampage in which pro-Jakarta militias slaughtered about 1,000 East Timorese.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told reporters after a ministerial meeting on Tuesday that Jakarta's contribution to the team would be finalised this week.

"On August 1 it will start working," he said.

Wirajuda reiterated earlier rejections of a recommendation for an international tribunal by a United Nations team of experts that recently visited Indonesia and East Timor.

The team said in a report to the U.N. secretary general that the tribunal was needed to try Indonesian and local militia leaders blamed for the bloody rampage.

An Indonesian special human rights court set up under international pressure had convicted six of 18 Indonesian military and police officers and others charged in connection with the violence, but five convictions were later overturned and an appeal of the sixth is pending.

Indonesia and its tiny neighbour, a former Portuguese colony Indonesia occupied for over a quarter-century beginning in the mid-1970s, announced plans in December for the commission in an effort to head off the U.N. initiative.

East Timor has strenuously opposed an international tribunal, saying that could damage relations with its large neighbour. The joint truth commission will have no power to punish those found responsible for abuses.

It consists of five delegates from each country.

The 1999 rampage, carried out by gangs supported by elements of the Indonesian army, was triggered by a referendum in which East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia after 24 years of often brutal military rule.

East Timor finally became independent in May 2002 after two-and-a-half years of U.N. administration.



July 19, 2005 4:52am


Jakarta, July 18 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government will soon announce Commission of Truth and Friendship (CTF) members who will be assigned to solve a number of problems with East Timor.

"We cannot announce them now. Maybe later this week we will do that," Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda said after meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla here on Monday.

Wirajuda said the commission would be made up of eight members from Indonesia and eight from East Timor.

Hopefully, they would start working early in August, he added.

"They will later hold a dialog to appoint the executive board of the commission and agree on its work mechanism," he said.

He said the East Timor government had already named any of its officials to sit in the commission.

Under the existing agreement, the East Timor government would send the names of its officials nominated for CTF members to the Indonesian government for discussion or the other way around, he said.

"So there is nothing concealed. This procedure has jointly been agreed upon," he said.

He said the government would announce members of the commission as soon as possible.

The government was in the process of seeking inputs from the nominees for the CTF membership about whether or not they were ready to sit in the commission because the job was not easy and would need much time, he said.

Many Indonesian assets have been left behind in East Timor after the territory seceded from Indonesia in October 1999 as a consequence of the pro-independence camp's victory in the UN-organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.


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