Subject: JP: Amnesties OK for Timor Leste Rights Violators: KKP

The Jakarta Post Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Amnesties OK for Timor Leste rights violators, says body

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Commission for Truth and Friendship (KKP) will leave the granting of amnesties for human rights violators in Timor Leste to the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments.

Commission member Lt. Gen. (ret) Agus Widjojo said Tuesday that amnesty should, however, be given to those who had been co-operative in giving information to KKP inquiry.

"In the commission's terms of reference there is one clause saying that we can recommend names that should be given amnesty ... on the condition that they are co-operative in our inquiry," Agus told The Jakarta Post.

He said that the primary task of the KKP was to uncover the truth surrounding the violence that took place in the aftermath of the 1999 referendum in East Timor, in which more than 90 percent of East Timorese voted to split from Indonesia.

"Our task is to investigate whether institutional accountability will be required," he said.

Earlier this month, members of the commission had agreed to make recommendations to the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments about amnesties for the perpetrators of the violence.

The United Nations has estimated that at least 1,500 people were killed by militia groups backed by the Indonesian Military (TNI) in the aftermath of the 1999 referendum.

A number of Indonesian generals, including former TNI chief and defense minister Gen. (ret) Wiranto, are among the military members expected to be summoned by the KKP.

The commission, modeled on similar restorative justice bodies set up in South Africa, Chile and Argentina, has no power to prosecute alleged human rights violators. However, it can make recommendations to the Indonesian and Timor Leste governments on granting amnesties and providing compensation and rehabilitation to victims.

The body was set up last year after the United Nations expressed dissatisfaction with Indonesia's earlier attempts to bring the perpetrators of rights violations to justice. At the time, it threatened to take the cases to an international tribunal.

The commission is expected to wrap up its inquiry on July 31.

Rafendi Djamin of the Human Rights Working Group condemned the KKP's recommendation that alleged perpetrators of human rights violations in East Timor be given amnesties.

"It has been agreed by the international community that gross human rights violations did take place in East Timor and the perpetrators must stand trial for that. There is no such thing as amnesty for the perpetrators," Rafendi told the Post.

Rafendi said that the Indonesian government risked losing its credibility as a champion of human rights should it follow the recommendation.

He said that the commission was flawed from its inception and only focused on pursuing the truth rather than justice.

Rafendi said the international community was now waiting for the KKP's final conclusions.

"The whole world is watching now," he said.


Joyo Indonesia News Service

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